I've never really thought about it before now, but is the name of a disease considered a proper noun, and thus, should the first letters be capitalized?

For example: Would it be "celiac disease" or "Celiac Disease"? I've seen it capitalized in some places and not in others.


2 Answers 2


No, disease names are not proper nouns, although diseases named after people keep the capitalization of the person's name (Münchausen syndrome). The scientific (Latin) names of disease-causing organisms follow the standard rule of Genus species.

If you've seen "Celiac Disease", it's just because of an unfortunate tendency some People have to capitalize Random Nouns as if English were half German.

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    I thought English was half German. BTW hundreds of Years ago it was common to capitalize random Nouns in English. e.g. read William Bradford's History of Plymouth Plantation.
    – Jay
    Commented Oct 3, 2013 at 17:11
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    @Jay Oh, a few centuries ago it was common to see most nouns capitalized; the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution, for example, use that style. But English has evolved over the years, and the capitalize-the-nouns rule went out a long time ago. Commented Oct 3, 2013 at 17:21
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    @chrylis Indeed, unless your Ultimate Goal is to make things sound Very Serious on the Internet.
    – WendiKidd
    Commented Oct 3, 2013 at 17:46
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    @chrylis When I see it capitalized, it's inevitably Celiac's Disease; note the genitive.
    – choster
    Commented Oct 3, 2013 at 22:11
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    @choster sigh Commented Oct 3, 2013 at 22:53

Diseases are not capitalized unless the name comes from the name of a scientist.For example rinderpest is not capitalized while Marek's disease is capitalized since this name comes from the researcher Marek. Similarly pathogenic organisms eg. anthrax bacteria are not capitalized. Of course, when we are writing the binomial name of the organism ( Bacillus anthracis) the genus name is capitalized. Too many people are writing this casually and young researchers are confused or learning wrong things.

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