Tuberculosis patient sought after refusing treatment

STOCKTON, Calif. (KABC) -- An arrest warrant has been issued for a Northern California transient who has tuberculosis, and may be putting others at risk.

Eduardo Cruz, 25, was last seen at the Capri Motel in Stockton.

San Joaquin County health officials say Cruz went to an emergency room in March, complaining of a severe cough.

After he was diagnosed with tuberculosis, medical staff told him to stay in a Stockton motel room, where a health worker would deliver his medication and watch him take it. But officials say he took off, ending his treatment.

It's unknown if Cruz is contagious, but authorities are worried he could be putting the public's health at risk. Cruz allegedly refused treatment.

"His disease may grow again and then he may become contagious, and right now, we don't know if he is or not contagious because we haven't been able to find him," said Dr. Alvaro Garza, San Joaquin County public health director.

Authorities hope to find Cruz and ensure he gets the proper treatment before he can infect others.

Cruz could face up to one year in prison for failing to comply with health officers.

Tuberculosis is a common but infectious disease that can be fatal if not treated properly. The disease can spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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