Zoonosis Control Program


Mission Statement:

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.

Program overview:

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

Rabies Information

Post-Exposure Rabies Vaccination Training for Healthcare Professionals

West Nile Virus Information

Chagas Disease (Triatomid Bug Submission)

Tick Submission

Animal Shelter Inspections

Zoonosis Control Branch



Melinda Hergert, Zoonosis Control Veterinarian

Sara ReillyProgram Specialist III

Melissa Maass, Program Specialist III

Vacant, Public Health and Prevention Specialist 

Region 7 Home

Last updated December 11, 2015