What to Report
List of Zoonotic Diseases (World Health Organization website)
- Animals confirmed or suspected of having rabies
- Outbreaks where many animals become ill around the same time and place
- Animals and humans sick with same symptoms in same general area
- Animal diseases that are unusual or are not native to the area
- Any disease in this list: Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) notifiable conditions
Public health agencies are responsible for preventing disease and injury in humans. It is imperative for public health agencies to know when a disease outbreak is occurring. This information is gathered by several means, one of which is through the reporting of diseases by physicians, veterinarians, and other health professionals. Since many of the communicable diseases that affect humans are zoonotic in nature, the veterinarian’s role in disease reporting is extremely important.
Seventy-five percent (75%) of new and emerging diseases have animal origins, making veterinarians a vital source of information with disease tracking and surveillance. While many of these diseases are naturally occurring, many of the organisms used in bio-warfare are zoonotic in nature and the intentional release of one of these biological agents is likely to show up first in the animal population.
Regardless of whether a zoonotic disease outbreak is a natural occurrence or the result of an intentional terrorist attack, rapid recognition of the outbreak is crucial in protecting the public. The veterinarian’s role in reporting suspicion of such outbreaks cannot be overstated.
Not only is it the duty of a veterinarian to report such diseases, it is the law. For more information about this law, click here.