Prosecutors in Northern California have issued an arrest warrant for a man with tuberculosis who has refused treatment and may be contagious, putting the public at risk.
The case of Eduardo Rosas Cruz, 25, is of particular concern for public health officials because he hails from a part of Mexico known for a drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis, according to the San Joaquin County district attorney’s office.
Authorities became aware of Cruz, who was described as a transient, after he went to San Joaquin General Hospital’s emergency room in March complaining of a severe cough and shortness of breath, KCRA-TV reported. After he was diagnosed with tuberculosis, the station reported, officials at the hospital told Cruz a health worker would meet him at a Stockton motel room and watch him take his medication, but he took off and authorities say he hasn’t been seen since.
“He could be in a homeless shelter. He could be around the corner from the courthouse,” Deputy District Atty. Stephen Taylor told the station. “We don’t know.”
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.
The $100,000 arrest warrant posted on the Stockton Police Department’s Facebook page described Cruz as standing 5-foot-4 and weighing 130 pounds, with brown eyes and black hair.
Though officials can’t force Cruz to accept medical treatment, they can use the court system to isolate him from the public, although it was unclear where they would hold him if he is found.
If located, the public was urged to contact Stockton police or San Joaquin County health officials at (209) 468-3992.