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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on August 26th, 2014, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 15, Issue 25 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 15, Issue 25

Man with contagious tuberculosis is at large


The Santa Barbara County Health Department is asking locals to call 911 if they see 24-year-old Augustin Zeferino, who has a contagious case of drug-resistant tuberculosis and whose whereabouts are unknown.

On Aug 22, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department asked county residents for information on the whereabouts of Augustin Zeferino, a 24-year-old man diagnosed with contagious drug-resistant tuberculosis. He had not been located as of press time on Aug. 27.

“Without proper treatment,” a press release reads, “Mr. Zeferino’s condition poses a serious health risk to individuals who come into close contact with him, as tuberculosis is spread through the air from one person to another.”

A warrant has been issued for his arrest, and anyone who knows Zeferino’s location or related information that would be helpful to public health’s efforts to locate him is encouraged to call 911.

The release notes that the subject has received “extensive information and medical consultation” about his tuberculosis, yet he discontinued treatment.

“With appropriate treatment, tuberculosis can be cured. Without treatment, it is often fatal and poses a public health threat due to airborne transmission,” Health Officer Dr. Charity Thoman said in the release. “This is particularly true for drug-resistant cases. If Mr. Zeferino is contagious and he is out in our community, it is a public health emergency.”

California is first in the nation for cases of tuberculosis—and, specifically, drug-resistant tuberculosis. Starting last year, Santa Barbara County began seeing an uptick in local cases. Symptoms of the disease most typically include a bloody cough, and patients must stick to a strict regimen of four separate drugs to combat it.