Both recovered quickly and were scheduled to be released from a hospital Saturday morning, said Russ Wise, a St. John the Baptist Parish School Board member and the father of one of the teens.
T.J. Wise, 17, of LaPlace, and Corinne Heath, 16, of Mandeville, are the only local students participating in a three-week tour of eastern Europe, organized the People to People Student Ambassador Program.
The group of 36 high school students left the United States on June 19.
Wise said several students began suffering flu-like symptoms Wednesday, after they arrived in Tallinn, located on Gulf of Finland coast.
Wise said he got the news at 1 a.m. Thursday, because of the eight-hour time difference. T.J. Wise called home and said, "Guess what!,'Â¤" Wise said.
"He sounded a little hoarse," and had a fever and some coughing, Wise said.
Initially, 18 students were quarantined at the hospital, where they were kept while tests were run, Wise said.
He said his son told him tests on the first day indicated two students had swine flu, then three were confirmed with the virus on the second day, including T.J. Wise and Heath.
The other students were released, but the five who were confirmed to have the H1N1 virus were being kept another night in the hospital, Wise said Friday.
"The kids are all feeling much better and excited to be re-entering their trip tomorrow," Epstein said Friday.
"She's having the best time. People to People International has done such a fantastic job of taking care of our kids during this situation," Epstein said. She said the students were immedidately given doses of Tamiflu, used to treat the flu virus.
People to People spokeswoman Meredith Banka said the organization has assigned a manager to each of the five quarantined students to serve as a liaison with parents.
The organization formed a task force in advance of this year's summer touring season to develop protocols for handling the H1N1 virus, and provided information online to families ahead of time, she said.
Banka said there are no recommendations by any national or international health agency to restrict travel, and according to the organization and Wise, students were contacted before the trip to ensure that they were healthy and prepared.
"The organization has everything under control," Wise said.
Banka said the quarantined students were given care packages of snacks, water and direct-dial telephones, and a teacher remained at the hospital.
The remainder of the group has traveled on to Latvia and Lithuania, Banka said. People to People has contacted consulates in all the countries on the tour to notify officials the students were cleared by testing, she said.
Wise said his son's most recent call was Friday afternoon. "He's in great spirits. He's ready to go," he said. The organization plans to allow the five students to visit some of the cities they might have missed before catching up with the group in Lithuania, Wise said.
Students pay to participate in the tours, but they must first be recommended by two teachers and are interviewed.
The trip to eastern Europe included three groups of students from Ohio, Texas and Houston.
The two Louisiana students joined with the Houston group, all of whom stayed at Wise's house earlier this year for a final pre-trip meeting.
The three groups came together in Chicago to begin the trip.
T.J. Wise went to China with People to People last year, Wise said. He recently graduated from East St. John High School and plans to attend Loyola University.
"When I talked to him this morning, he was feeling fine," Wise said. "You could hear the other kids behind him laughing. They had just been told when they would be released."
Sandra Barbier can be reached at email@example.com or 985.652.0958