When observing the swine flu outbreak happening today, it's helpful to have some historical context. Viral pandemics are not unusual, and talking about one isn't "alarmist." Pandemics are a regular feature of life on earth, and they occur with surprising regularity throughout world history.
Wherever there are masses of people, there are opportunities for viruses to spread. It is especially important to note that even with all of today's "advanced" medical technology (which really isn't that advanced in many ways), today's swine flu virus eluded all the world's infectious disease authorities, spreading to more than seven different countries before it even appeared on the CDC's radar. Modern technology, it turns out, is no more effective at halting the spread of swine flu than having no technology at all.