We commit through personal and programmatic excellence to inform citizens about zoonotic diseases and animal control issues through education, disease surveillance and epidemiologic investigations. Our combined team effort will contribute to DSHS’ overall objective of promoting and protecting the health and well being of citizens in the State of Texas.
The “big picture” Zoonosis Control Program goals are to reduce the incidence of zoonotic diseases and animal bites within Health Service Region 7. The activities currently being applied to reach goals related to education, surveillance, and disease reporting activities are:
- Provide consultations of persons bitten by animals; assess rabies risk.
- Sell rabies postexposure biologicals (vaccine and immune globulin) to uninsured persons who are (1) unable to obtain free biologicals from a manufacturers’ Patient Assistance Programs (2) have a valid rabies exposure, and (3) have a prescription from a physician who will administer the injections
- Investigate legally reportable zoonotic diseases in humans and animals.
- Educate medical professionals (human and veterinary), media, government officials, and general public via telephone consultations, quarterly summaries, emails, and speaking engagements.
- Coordinate training of professional animal control officers (ACO) and their municipal and county government leadership. Offer Basic ACO Training Courses twice a year.
- Inspect rabies quarantine facilities.
- Register animal shelters mandated to undergo annual inspection by a private veterinarian.
- Review animal shelter rabies quarantine facility construction plans.
- Provide consultation on updating local animal control ordinances.
- Perform tick and mosquito surveillance (trapping) to detect viral, rickettsial and spirochetal agents that may cause diseases in people.
- Conduct emerging disease investigations.
- Participate in special projects (i.e. Oral Rabies Vaccination Program, outbreak investigations).
Animal Control Officer Training
DSHS Region 7 Continuing Education Courses
Post-Exposure Rabies Vaccination Training for Healthcare Professionals
West Nile Virus Information
Chagas Disease (Triatomid Bug Submission)
Animal Shelter Inspections
Zoonosis Control Branch
Melinda Hergert, Zoonosis Control Veterinarian
Sarah Reilly, Program Specialist III
Melissa Maass, Program Specialist III
Jamie Ferguson, Public Health and Prevention Specialist