[CDHC] Additional comments on YBBD

Esther Peters esther.peters at tetratech-ffx.com
Mon Nov 17 13:44:31 EST 2003

Dear Nomenclature Committee and Other Members of the CDHC,
In late October, we (Esther Peters, James Cervino, Andy Bruckner, Tom Goreau) posted a request for reconsideration of the name of the disease currently posted on the CDHC coral disease page as "yellow band," which has also been referred to in the literature as "yellow-blotch disease."  The name "yellow-blotch/band disease" was proposed as a replacement, to distinguish this Caribbean disease from yellow-band disease found in the Arabian Gulf.
Comments received after this posting indicated that yellow-blotch/band disease or yellow-blotch disease were favored, and YBL was proposed as the abbreviation because it is shorter than YBBD and should not get confused with YBD (Arabian Gulf).
Additional comments after the update posting fell off quickly.  One suggested using the location where a lesion was first described in the name, instead of colors, or using more complex colors to describe lesions. The YBL abbreviation was questioned, since the L does not correspond with a first letter in the disease name.  Another respondent noted that YBD had been associated with yellow-blotch disease of the Caribbean.  YBBD had too many letters. 
It is still confusing out there.
I have been assured that the CDHC is planning a session on nomenclature of coral diseases for early 2004 so that this issue, and others world-wide, can be discussed and resolved, hopefully.  What to do in the meantime?  As a veterinary pathologist pointed out to me, SARS and many other diseases we now recognize didn't start out with their familiar names; often many years might pass before the etiologic agent was identified.  In the meantime, the health community used different names, but eventually the descriptions of the conditions solidified, the causal agents were identified, and names evolved into common usage, without formal recognition by any institutional body.  (Although there are now attempts to standardize terminology and diagnoses through SNOMED, wherein the synonyms are linked; it is a huge undertaking.)  So, until further notice, one must read the literature and discussions and make their own decision about which name to use for each disease.  But it is important to provide a detailed description of the disease, so that future workers can access your reports.
Esther Peters, Ph.D.

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