The Philadelphia Department of Public Health provides guidance on emerging outbreaks of illnesses or conditions with significant public health consequences. To view guidance, click on an emergent health topic in the table below.


Novel Coronavirus: COVID-19                                                                                                                                                          Updated: 06/24/2021
In December 2019, an outbreak of a 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) began in Wuhan City, China. The situation is rapidly evolving. Cases have been detected among travelers from Wuhan City in Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Nepal and the U.S. Updated guidance and health alerts will be posted here for the duration of the outbreak event.
Date Range of Public Health Significance: 01/01/2020 - Present
Hepatitis A                                                                                                                                                          Updated: 03/06/2020
On August 1, 2019, Philadelphia declared a public health emergency in response to continuing rapid increases in hepatitis A virus (HAV) infections among persons who use drugs and those who are living homeless.
Date Range of Public Health Significance: 08/01/2019 - Present
Opioid Overdoses                                                                                                                                                          Updated: 07/07/2020
In Philadelphia, fatal drug overdoses increased by more than 50% from 2013 through 2015, from approximately 460 deaths to approximately 700. In 2019, 1,150 people died from drug overdoses in Philadelphia.
Date Range of Public Health Significance: 10/25/2015 - Present
Zika Virus                                                                                                                                                           Updated: 12/11/2019
Domestic transmission of Zika virus in Florida, increased summer travel, and the height of mosquito season in Philadelphia compels the need for area providers to remain vigilant regarding Zika virus recognition and prevention.
Date Range of Public Health Significance: 01/16/2016 - Ongoing Monitoring
Acute Flaccid Myelitis                                                                                                                                                           Updated: 10/03/2018
In 2016, PDPH has received six Acute Flaccid Myelitis reports from area healthcare providers; two of which were confirmed and four are pending review by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While no etiology has been identified as the cause of these illnesses, four of six patients had at least one specimen test positive for enterovirus.
Date Range of Public Health Significance: 09/03/2015 - Ongoing Monitoring
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)                                                                                                                                                          Updated: 09/06/2018
The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus is a novel coronavirus that was first reported to cause human infection characterized by severe acute lower respiratory illness in September 2012. All cases have had direct or indirect links to the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, United Arab Emirates (UAE)) during their incubation period. Only two patients in the U.S. have ever tested positive for MERS-CoV infection — both in May 2014.
Date Range of Public Health Significance: 07/29/2013 - Ongoing Monitoring
Ebola: 2014 West African Outbreak                                                                                                                                                          Updated: 01/06/2016
As of December 29, 2015, the World Health Organization declared Guinea free of Ebola Virus Disease (Ebola). In conjunction with similar declarations made on May 9 regarding Liberia and November 7 regarding Sierra Leone, this declaration signals the end of the largest recorded Ebola outbreak.
Date Range of Public Health Significance: 07/28/2014 - 12/29/2015