Zoonosis Control - Public Health Region 7

Mission Statement

We commit through personal and programmatic excellence to inform constituents 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 Health Service Region 7 Zoonosis Control Program exists to prevent and reduce the impact of zoonotic diseases on human endeavors in Central Texas.  Zoonoses are diseases transmissible between people and animals causing illness that adversely affects the patient. Program activities are comprised of disease investigation and reporting, disease consultation, education, and field surveillance. Specific examples of program activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Investigate reports of human and animal notifiable disease conditions, and report results in data to the State Zoonosis Control Branch.
  • Educate medical professionals (human and veterinary), media, government officials, and the public via telephone consultations, quarterly summaries, emails, and speaking engagements. 
  • Provide consultations to the public, animal control officers (ACO), human health care providers, and veterinarians when people or animals may have been exposed to rabies or other zoonotic diseases.
  • Train Animal Control Officers (ACOs), peace officers, and municipal and county government leaders in rabies prevention, animal control laws, and animal welfare by offering two Basic ACO Training Courses and 12 hours of Continuing Education annually.
  • Inspect animal rabies quarantine facilities annually to ensure compliance with Texas Health and Safety code and Texas Administrative code. Review animal rabies quarantine facility construction plans. Maintain annual animal shelter inspection records.
  • Perform rabies risk assessments and provide guidance on rabies post-exposure prophylaxis for people and animals.
  • Provide consultation on updating local animal control ordinances. 
  • Provide information to stakeholders about tick, mosquito and triatomine surveillance.
  • Conduct emerging disease investigations.
  • Participate in special projects (i.e., Oral Rabies Vaccination Program, outbreak investigations). 

Additional Information


David Smonko, DVM, Zoonosis Control Veterinarian

Amber Frenzel, Program Specialist III

Melissa Maass, Program Specialist III 

Jay Leivdal, Program Specialist III

Emily Quiles, Public Health & Prevention Specialist