TUCSON - A Tucson man has been jailed for failing to take medication for his tuberculosis, authorities said.
James Roman Pearson, 49, remained at the Pima County jail Wednesday on a tuberculosis violation more than two weeks after the county Health Department petitioned to have him taken in to custody because he represented a serious health risk.
"He is now being held in isolation. The court will decide when he will be released," said Deputy Dawn Hanke, a Sheriff's Department spokeswoman.
Pearson is in one of four isolation cells that are called negative pressure rooms, which have a separate air filtration system, authorities said.
Whenever Pearson is outside of his cell, he must wear a respiratory mask.
Since he has been in custody, authorities said Pearson has been taking his medication.
Court records related to the matter have been sealed, according to the Pima County Health Department, so it's unclear what kind of strain Pearson is infected with.
Tuberculosis is a disease caused by bacteria, which usually attacks the lungs but can also attack the kidney, spine and brain, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It is spread through the air from one person to another. The bacteria are put into the air when a person with active TB of the lungs or throat coughs or sneezes. People nearby may breathe in the bacteria and become infected. If not treated properly, it can be fatal.