Hilton Head business donates thousands of drinks to Ebola patients

October 09, 2014

Hilton Head business donates thousands of drinks to Ebola patients

dburley@islandpacket.comSeptember 29, 2014 

This undated photo made available by the Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium, shows the Ebola virus viewed through an electron microscope. The World Health Organization on Aug. 8, 2014 declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to be an international public health emergency that requires an extraordinary response to stop its spread.


A Hilton Head Island business is lending a hand to Ebola patients fighting for their lives in West Africa.

Cera Products has sent about 40,000 of the company's "oral rehydration" drinks to Liberia and Sierra Leone, two countries at the center of the outbreak.

The rice-based, electrolyte-filled drinks prevent and correct dehydration for patients suffering extreme fluid loss from the virus' symptoms, which include fever, vomiting and diarrhea.

At 160 calories, the drink, known as "CeraLyte," also provides much-needed nutrients, according to Cera Products president and CEO Charlene Riikonen.

"Dehydration is a big problem when people contract Ebola," she said. "Staying hydrated keeps them from going into shock."

The company donated $72,000 worth of drinks this month to Direct Relief, a humanitarian organization that has shipped more than $6 million worth of goods to countries with Ebola patients.

The outbreak is the largest in history. More than 3,000 people have died and 6,500 cases have been reported, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cera Products, based on Mathews Drive, has donated before to relief efforts; the company has sent drinks to disaster survivors on multiple continents.

Its products are used by all branches of the U.S. military, by athletes and several major hospitals.

Riikonen said she is talking with the U.S. Department of Defense about sending drinks to soldiers helping Ebola patients in Africa.

"It's not going to cure Ebola, but I feel like it's our duty to do things like this," she said.


Follow reporter Dan Burley on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Dan.

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Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/2014/09/29/3713065/hilton-head-business-donates-thousands.html#storylink=cpy


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