Life of Israeli bacteria victim depends on urgent blood donations in Peru

Marcus Moraes

RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — An international against-the-clock blood donation call boosted by social media aims at saving the life of an Israeli tourist hospitalized in Peru after contracting a serious blood-related illness.

The family of 21-year-old Zohar Katz, from Kibbutz Yotvata in southern Israel, is reaching out to Israelis traveling in the area and asking them to come to the hospital in Lima and donate A+, A- and AB blood to cleanse her body and minimize her critical condition, reported Ynet.

The tourist was first hospitalized in Cusco but later transferred to a hospital in the capital city Lima. She needs a total of between 11 units and 20 units of blood per day in order to clean her body of the bacteria for a treatment that may take 15 days.

Many answered the call, but the effort was hampered by strict regulations preventing those vaccinated within the previous six months from giving blood. Hikers visiting South America usually have a round of vaccinations three months before their trip

“Dozens of people from the community as well as many travelers have arrived in the last couple days,” Israeli consul Limor Sherman said. “The main problem is that since most of them have received vaccinations in recent months, they are ineligible to donate.”

Magen David Adom stepped up and said it would fly the necessary blood units to Peru after overcoming the international bureaucracy. The Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry has stated that it is aware of the case and that it is being handled.

On Sunday, Peru also made headlines in Israel. The Jewish state barred entrance to the country’s fugitive ex-president, whose wife holds Israeli citizenship, until he settles his affairs with his home country over corruption charges.

Peru’s President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, whose German Jewish father fled the Nazis in 1933, thanked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the refusal.