California authorities are currently looking for Eduardo Rosas Cruz, a fugitive homeless man who refused tuberculosis treatment and may be contagious.
Cruz, who is 25-years-old, was diagnosed with tuberculosis in an emergency room at San Jaoquin General Hospital in French Camp, California back in March. He was asked to stay in a local motel room, where doctors could give him medication. However, Cruz fled, and has not been seen since.
“We need help getting him in,” said San Joaquin County public health officer Dr. Alvaro Garza. “We’ve not been able to find him in places he’s told us he’s going to be.”
Health officials are currently concerned that he is infected with a drug-resistant strain of the disease, and could be contagious. Since he reportedly uses crack cocaine and methamphetamine, it would be easier for him to develop a drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis. Because of this, California authorities issued an arrest warrant for Cruz, in order to bring him before he infects anyone.
Tuberculosis (TB) can be spread through the air when someone sneezes or coughs, making it fairly contagious. The disease normally attacks a person’s lungs, and can be fatal if left untreated. In 2012, it was reported by the CDC that nine million people were infected with the disease, and around 1.3 million people died.
Although health officials cannot force a person to receive treatment, they can isolate a person if it is believe he or she could infect others.
“We’re interested in this guy because he broke the orders of the health officer,” San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Stephen Taylor told the Associated Press News Agency.
“He could be in a homeless shelter. He could be around the corner from the courthouse,” he added. “We don’t know.”
If anyone knows his whereabouts, it is suggested that they report them to local authorities.