There's a great little movie that came out a while ago called "Contagion". It's about a modern pandemic outbreak (a la the Spanish Flu of 1919). Turns out, the MEV-1 virus is based off a real virus:
Nipah virus is an active virus. It's had multiple outbreaks, some with dozens of fatalities (very high mortality rate; easily communicable), and there's still no vaccine or cure today. And it's still out there today.
Discussion of Contagion by epidemiologists
What's interesting about epidemiology is it's a never ending battle. You have to constantly be on your toes, because viruses mutate over time.
One of my favorite parts was where one of the scientists working on the cure talked about Dr. Barry Marshall, who drank an infectious broth to prove his theory was correct. That's a pretty amazing way to put your money where your mouth is.
Check out the movie. Also take a look at John Barry, author of Rising Tide and The Great Influenza, writes about what's next for Swine Flu. The Great Influenza is also worth a read.