6 Members of Traveling Youth Choir Confirmed with H1N1 Flu

Six children who had been traveling with their 75-member youth choir group have confirmed cases of the H1N1 flu, according to the El Paso County Department of Health and Environment in Colorado Springs.

But none of the children needed to be hospitalized and all have since returned home to Plano, Texas, reported a chaperone for the Exultation youth choir who has served as a spokesperson for Grace Presbyterian Church since news broke of the children's illnesses.

"The kids are all back from Colorado and everyone is doing well," Wes Durow informed The Christian Post on Monday.

Last Wednesday, the group of children – whose ages range from the early teens to late teens – stopped by Colorado Springs after many complained of shortness of breath and fevers in the last few days of their eight-day trip through four different states.

The children had been traveling since June 12 as part of their "2009 Exultation and Credo Mission Tour," which was scheduled to conclude this past Saturday with a home concert at their church.

"[F]rom almost the first day of tour, we've had students getting sick," the director of the group reported last Tuesday in the tour's blog. By the fourth day, a number of students reported catching the virus that was going around, altitude sickness, or both, she added.

When the group arrived in Colorado Springs, at least 30 were evaluated and tested for H1N1 influenza, or the "Swine Flu," as it was introduced to the world earlier this year.

Though none of the venues that the youth choir performed at last week have reported any signs that the virus had spread, those that have been informed of the choir's illness say they are taking extra precautions to prevent the spread of the flue.

The children had performed at Faith City Ministries in Amarillo, Texas, for the homeless; Springs Rescue Mission, a homeless shelter in Colorado Springs; and at First Presbyterian Church and The Meridian, a retirement community, in Englewood, Colo.

The manager at the Doubletree hotel in Colorado Springs, where the children were staying before checking in for tests, informed a local ABC news affiliate that he was never contacted by the Health Department about the H1N1 confirmation but that he will now do everything in his power to make sure the hotel stays at healthy standards.

Notably, most cases of H1N1 contamination have been mild and though there have been 87 deaths as of last Friday, that figure is far less than the number of deaths due from the average flu or its complications.

According to the National Institute of Allergyand Infectious Diseases (NIAID), an estimated 100,000 hospitalizations and about 20,000 deaths occur each year from the flu or its complications – or around 8,300 hospitalizations and about 1,600 deaths per month.

Since the first reported case of the H1N1 flu in the United States two months ago on April 14, there have been a total of 21,449 confirmed and probable cases reported.

Health officials say the "greatest concern" is that they don't know how the virus will behave under conditions typically found in the developing world, where there are limited resources, poor health care, and a high prevalence of underlying medical problems.

To date, the vast majority of cases have been detected and investigated in comparatively well-off countries.

Christian Post reporter Eric Young contributed to this article.