The US military has identified the outbreak of swine flu as ‘not a pandemic at this time’ but has issued a worldwide caution to military personnel to be on the lookout for troops with signs of swine flu.

The US Northern Command issued a ‘force health protection advisory’ saying the ‘novel strain’ of swine flu that has been identified was not pandemic at this time, but reiterated to military commands around the world the need for public health precautions.

Northern Command is the part of the military responsible for providing military assistance in medical emergencies such as a pandemic, if civilian authorities are overwhelmed and need help. No request for such assistance has been made.

The message issued on Friday, however, reminded troops to take basic precautions to avoid falling ill as military populations, which are generally young and live in close quarters on bases and installations, are often vulnerable to highly communicable diseases.