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Warrant Issued for Man With Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis Deemed Public Health Threat

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Agustin Zeferino, a 24 year old male, has a contagious case of drug-resistant tuberculosis. The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department provided this photo on Aug. 22, 2014.

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a Santa Barbara County man with drug-resistant tuberculosis who has refused treatment, health officials announced Friday.

Agustin Zeferino, 24, was last treated about two weeks ago before authorities lost contact with him, according to county Public Health Department spokeswoman Susan Klein-Rothschild.

“We believe he needs treatment to stay healthy, and he is a risk to the public,” Klein-Rothschild said.

Zeferino has a contagious case of drug-resistant TB that could be fatal without treatment. The disease poses a public health threat because it is spread through the air from one person to the other, according to a news release from the department.

Zeferino had been given “extensive information and medical consultation” about his health, but stopped treatment, the release stated.

A warrant was issued for his arrest, Klein-Rothschild said, though she did not have details on what agency issued the warrant.

Anyone who knows Zeferino’s whereabouts was urged to call 911 and avoid contact with him.

“If Mr. Zeferino is contagious and he is out in our community, it is a public health emergency,” Health Officer Dr. Charity Thoman said in the news release.

Zeferino was believed to be in the north county area, Klein-Rothschild said.