Santa Barbara County Public Health officials fear a Santa Maria man with a highly dangerous and contagious form of tuberculosis is infecting hundreds of people in the five weeks he’s been on the run.
Sheriff’s officials and even Homeland Security agents are on the hunt for 24-year-old Augustin Zeferino.
The Santa Maria man was being treated by county health officials for a highly contagious form of drug-resistant TB when he cut off a monitoring bracelet and left the area.
“He absolutely knows how dangerous he is,” said Dr. Charity Thoman, County Health Officer. “We’ve worked closely with this individual for over a year now. And the sheriff’s department has been doing a great job trying to find him at known locations throughout Santa Maria. They have not found him. We believe if he’s not in the area, he’ll be coming back soon.”
Thoman said anyone who shares air space with Zeferino for at least an hour, say in a car or a bedroom, is at risk of contracting this form of TB.
A felony warrant was issued for Zeferino and he is on a federal “No Board/Look-Out” list for travel.