Texas Health and Safety Code § 81.003. Definitions

In this chapter:

(1) “Communicable disease” means an illness that occurs through the transmission of an infectious agent or its toxic products from a reservoir to a susceptible host, either directly, as from an infected person or animal, or indirectly through an intermediate plant or animal host, a vector, or the inanimate environment.

(1-a) “Emergency response employee or volunteer” means an individual acting in the course and scope of employment or service as a volunteer as emergency medical service personnel, a peace officer, a detention officer, a county jailer, or a fire fighter.

(1-b) “Designated infection control officer” means the person serving as an entity's designated infection control officer under Section 81.012 .

(2) “Health authority” means:

(A) a physician appointed as a health authority under Chapter 121 (Local Public Health Reorganization Act) or the health authority's designee;  or

(B) a physician appointed as a regional director under Chapter 121 (Local Public Health Reorganization Act) who performs the duties of a health authority or the regional director's designee.

(3) “Health professional” means an individual whose:

(A) vocation or profession is directly or indirectly related to the maintenance of the health of another individual or of an animal;  and

(B) duties require a specified amount of formal education and may require a special examination, certificate or license, or membership in a regional or national association.

(4) “Local health department” means a department created under Chapter 121 (Local Public Health Reorganization Act).

(4-a) “Peace officer” has the meaning assigned by Article 2.12, Code of Criminal Procedure .  The term includes a sheriff or constable.

(5) “Physician” means a person licensed to practice medicine by the Texas Medical Board.

(6) “Public health district” means a district created under Chapter 121 (Local Public Health Reorganization Act).

(7) “Public health disaster” means:

(A) a declaration by the governor of a state of disaster;  and

(B) a determination by the commissioner that there exists an immediate threat from a communicable disease that:

(i) poses a high risk of death or serious long-term disability to a large number of people;  and

(ii) creates a substantial risk of public exposure because of the disease's high level of contagion or the method by which the disease is transmitted.

(8) “Reportable disease” means a disease or condition included in the list of reportable diseases and includes a disease that is designated as reportable under Section 81.048 .

(9) “Resident of this state” means a person who:

(A) is physically present and living voluntarily in this state;

(B) is not in the state for temporary purposes;  and

(C) intends to make a home in this state, which may be demonstrated by the presence of personal effects at a specific abode in the state;  employment in the state;  possession of a Texas driver's license, motor vehicle registration, voter registration, or other similar documentation;  or other pertinent evidence.

(10) “School authority” means:

(A) the superintendent of a public school system or the superintendent's designee;  or

(B) the principal or other chief administrative officer of a private school.

(11) “Sexually transmitted disease” means an infection, with or without symptoms or clinical manifestations, that may be transmitted from one person to another during, or as a result of, sexual relations between two persons and that may:

(A) produce a disease in, or otherwise impair the health of, either person;  or

(B) cause an infection or disease in a fetus in utero or a newborn.


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