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Legal Authorities for Control of Communicable Diseases

The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services has statutory responsibility for preventing the introduction, transmission, and spread of communicable diseases in the United States. Under its delegated authority, the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, works to fulfill this responsibility through a variety of activities, including the operation of Quarantine Stations at ports of entry, establishment of standards for medical examination of persons destined for the United States, and administration of interstate and foreign quarantine regulations, which govern the international and interstate movement of persons, animals, and cargo. The legal foundation for these activities is found in Titles 8 and 42 of the US Code and relevant supporting regulations.

United States Federal Laws

United States Code

Code of Federal Regulations

Executive Orders

Executive Orders specify the list of diseases for which federal quarantine is authorized, which is required by the Public Health Service Act. On recommendation of the HHS Secretary, the President may amend this list whenever necessary to add new communicable diseases, including emerging diseases that are a threat to public health.

Interim Final Rule

Orders Issued by CDC

International Agreements

Information about Animal Importation

Additional Public Health Law Resources

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Page Last Modified: March 22, 2008
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