The earliest swine flu outbreak was a worldwide pandemic scare that never became an actual pandemic. The virus that infected somewhere between 13 and 500 people (reports vary) in Fort Dix, New Jersey was called H1N1 (which you may remember from the world's most recent swine flu outbreak—H1N1 was the most common cause of flu in 2009).
Scientists incorrectly identified the virus as a version of the Spanish Flu strain from 1918, deemed it the “killer flu” and said it could become more deadly than the pandemic that infected nearly 40 percent of the world. Panic ensued. The president and Congress passed a mass-immunization law, earmarking $135 million for a swine flu program to inoculate the country.
Over the course of three months some 40 million Americans were vaccinated, but the disease never managed to appear outside of the Fort Dix area, where one person died. Many believed the virus emerging there could have been an anomaly, passed between an infected animal and a member of the military base. But it wasn’t strong enough to spread beyond the close quarters of the barracks.
Nonetheless, pandemics have really never been the same. Whether it's due to regular inoculation programs or improved healthcare around the world, pandemics are becoming less severe with every trip around the world.