Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told government leaders at a swine flu preparedness summit Thursday leaders to plan for the worst-case scenario of the virus reappearing with renewed strength this fall. She advised 500 government, health and education “What we need to assume is that it will come back in a much more severe form.”

Two phrases being bantered around now…mild cases, worse case scenario.  The poor public…. no wonder everyone is confused…. What are they saying to us?  How can it be mild (don’t worry) and get ready for worse case (OMG!). That of course is the very nature of the influenza virus – an ever-changing virus that wakes up everyday asking itself, “how can I be different today?!?”

The good news…a vaccine to fight the H1N1 virus should be ready for distribution in mid-October.  The bad news…it will be in very limited amounts initially. Sebelius said medical experts are testing virus strains, preparing the production lines and beginning clinical trials. She said the initial target group for the vaccine will be pregnant women, children ages 5 to 17, health care workers, the elderly and anyone with chronic health conditions such as asthma.

The is our “official” warning from the government…flu season technically starts on October 1.  Don’t delay.