• Question: Do you name diseases?

    Asked by Einsteinfc to Sudhin, Sergio, Katie, Frances, Diarmuid, Aoife on 20 Nov 2019.
    • Photo: Katie Fala

      Katie Fala answered on 20 Nov 2019:

      I haven’t personally! In general the trend is moving away from naming diseases after a person, for a few good reasons (stigma, nationalism, taking credit for other peoples work) and because science is more and more about group efforts and piecing together puzzles rather than one person having a ‘Eureka!’ moment. The WHO recommend that new diseases should be given names that describe the symptoms that they provoke or the name of the microbe that causes it, if due to bacteria/fungi/viruses etc; for example ‘Enterovirus D68–Associated Acute Flaccid Myelitis’ is associated with the virus Enterovirus D68, and the defining symptom is acute flaccid myelitis or weakening of the limbs.