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Man with tuberculosis who officials say resisted treatment is arrested

Crime
Transient wanted for allegedly refusing treatment for highly contagious tuberculosis is arrested

A Northern California transient diagnosed with tuberculosis and wanted for creating a public health risk by refusing treatment has been arrested, officials said.

Eduardo Rosas Cruz, 25, was arrested Monday during a traffic stop in Kern County, ABC7 reported.

He was diagnosed in March when he went to an emergency room complaining of a severe cough, officials said. Medical staff told him to stay in a Stockton hotel room, where a health worker would deliver medicine and watch him take it. 

But instead Cruz disappeared, ending treatment and putting the public at risk, prosecutors said.

Tuberculosis -- a contagious lung infection -- is transmitted through the air in the droplets emitted when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. If left untreated, it can be deadly.

Increasing public health officials' concern was the fact that Cruz is from a part of Mexico known for a drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis.

Cruz was arrested on a warrant issued by the San Joaquin County district attorney's office.

Though officials can't force Cruz to accept medical treatment, they can use the court system to isolate him from the public. He must be medically cleared before he is sent back to San Joaquin County, which could take weeks.

For breaking news in Los Angeles and the Southland, follow @Caitlin__Owens, or email her at caitlin.owens@latimes.com.

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