Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for

 

Date of this Version

December 1985

Abstract

Zoonoses (singular, zoonosis) are diseases transmissible from animals to man. There are over 200 such diseases; many are harbored by wildlife reservoirs. A reservoir may be defined as a source which maintains the presence of a disease in an ecosystem. Wildlife-associated "zoonoses found in Texas include rabies, plague, tularemia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, leptospirosis, relapsing fever, typhus, and leprosy. The mission of the Zoonosis Control Division of the Texas Department of Health is to protect the health of Texas citizens against zoonoses. Surveillance programs for various diseases are an integral part of the overall control programs, which include epidemiological (case) investigations, surveillance, health education, and direct control efforts. The cooperation of other agencies is essential to a successful operation. The Animal Damage Control (ADC) branch of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) and the Texas Rodent and Predatory Animal Control Service have been especially helpful with surveillance activities, especially those involving sylvatic plague. They also assist, as needed, in other control efforts. For example, in 1976, during a major canine rabies outbreak in Laredo, (US-Mexico border), there were questions about the role of feral dogs living along the Rio Grande River in maintaining the epizootic. ADC personnel assisted when called upon by trapping several of the animals for rabies examination. (They were not infected). ADC personnel have also assisted in a study to elucidate the relationships between raccoons, bats, and rabies.