What is the CDC and what does it do?

The CDC is one of the major operating components of the Department of Health and Human Services.

You may have first heard of the CDC on AMC’s “The Walking Dead” or on the news, but how much do you really know about the nation’s leading health protection agency?

Here’s a breakdown:

What is the CDC? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is one of the major operating components of the Department of Health and Human Services.

What does the CDC do? According to the CDC’s mission statement, the agency works to protect the nation from health, safety and security threads, both in the U.S. and foreign. It does this by connecting both state and local health departments across the country to discover patterns of disease and respond when needed.

But that’s not all the CDC does. By monitoring health patterns and providing information, it also helps the public take responsibility for its own health. The agency often does this by listing the latest data on their website or hosting meetings on subjects such as climate change, which is increasingly being treated as a public health issue.

Where is the CDC located? The CDC is headquartered in Atlanta at 1600 Clifton Road, close to Emory University. However, the organization has 10 additional locations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, including: Anchorage, Alaska; Cleveland, Ohio; Cincinnati, Ohio; Fort Collins, Colorado; Hyattsville, Maryland; Morgantown, West Virginia; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Research Triangle Park in North Carolina; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Spokane, Washington; Detroit and Washington, D.C.

Who works for the CDC? The CDC employs more than 21,000 full-time employees and contractors in 170 different occupations and has workers in all 50 states and in more than 50 countries. Nearly 15,000 employees work in Atlanta. Most of its employees have a background in medicine or science, but the agency also employs accountants, budget administrators and more.

» RELATED: How to get a job at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta

To learn more about the CDC, watch the video above and visit cdc.gov.

Recent CDC coverage from the AJC:

New study on STDs finds Georgia among ‘most diseased’ states

Lyme disease risks could increase after mouse plague, experts warn