STOCKTON (CBS13) — A homeless man infected with Tuberculosis disappeared in Stockton.
Eduardo Rosas Cruz, 26, first came on health officials’ radar in March, after he was diagnosed with a severe and contagious strain of TB. According to the court complaint, he didn’t comply with treatment.
“He’s been found and then lost, found and lost, found and lost, so at some point we have to say we can’t find him anymore,” said Dr. Alvaro Garzo of the San Joaquin County Public Health Services.
Cruz tested positive March 14 at San Joaquin General Hospital, but never finished treatment. The bacteria in his lungs could pose a public health risk.
“Eventually without taking the meds, they [bacteria] grow and grow,” said Alvaro. “So, if he doesn’t take his meds, it can kill him. TB does kill.”
The infection is also contagious and Cruz is a transient. His last known address was at the Capri Motel on Wilson Way. None of the tenants and office manager remember when they last saw him.
Area homeless shelters were put on alert this morning, but don’t believe he was ever at the shelter, since he would lack a critical entry requirement.
“All men that check into our shelter have to have TB cards,” said St. Mary’s Shelter operations director Margarita Ramos. “We also have regulars and we know when their TB cards are going to expire. We keep reminding them, ‘Hey, time to go down to public health, get your TB test, make sure you have an updated TB card.”
The district attorney’s office issued an arrest warrant for him.
“Anyone with an arrest warrant, we actively look for them,” said Stockton Police spokeswoman Rosie Calderon. “We would definitely take precautions as far as gloves.”
“The only precaution they need to do is put a mask on him if he’s even coughing,” said Garzo.
Health Officials said Cruz’s TB would only be contagious if someone spent several hours with him a confined space.
Health officials do not know if Cruz is still contagious, that’s why they want to find him and re-test him. He faces misdemeanor charges if they find him.