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Tuberculosis patient who refused treatment arrested in California

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A Northern California man who refused treatment and disappeared after he was diagnosed with tuberculosis has been arrested and admitted to a local hospital under guard, law enforcement and local health officials said on Tuesday.

Eduardo Rosas Cruz, 25, was ordered to remain isolated in a hotel room in Stockton, some 40 miles northeast of Sacramento, and take medication for tuberculosis in March after he was determined to have the infectious lung disease, San Joaquin County Public Health Services spokeswoman Krista Dommer said.

After Cruz violated those orders by leaving the hotel, authorities concerned about spread of the contagious disease issued a public health safety warrant for his arrest, Dommer said.

Cruz was taken into custody on Monday night during a traffic stop in the community of Lamont, California, about 15 miles north of Bakersfield, Kern County Sheriff's spokesman Ray Pruitt said.

"We took him to Kern Medical Center and had him admitted there, under guard," Pruitt said.

The Fresno Bee newspaper reported Cruz was a transient who had come from an area of Mexico known for a drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis.

Dommer said she could not immediately confirm that report but said health officials were concerned that he could have a drug-resistant strain of the disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tuberculosis, once one of the leading causes of death in the United States, can be spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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