Do You Capitalize Diseases? Clearing Up Capitalization Confusion

As a copywriter, choosing the right capitalization for certain words can be tricky, especially when it comes to diseases. As a medical condition, you may assume that diseases are always capitalized. However, this is not always the case. In this article, we will clear up the capitalization confusion around diseases so that you can write with confidence.

When to Capitalize Diseases

In general, you should capitalize the names of diseases that are named after a person or place. For example, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Lyme disease should all be capitalized since they are named after a person (Alois Alzheimer, James Parkinson, and Lyme, Connecticut). Another example would be Huntington’s disease, named after the physician who first described it.

If the disease is an acronym, it should be capitalized as well. For example, AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) and SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2) should both be capitalized.

When to Use Lowercase for Diseases

Most diseases, however, are not named after a person or place and are referred to in lowercase. For example, diabetes, asthma, and cancer should all be in lowercase.

In addition, when referring to a general disease category, such as heart disease or lung disease, the words should be in lowercase since they are not specific names of diseases.

When to Use Both Capitalized and Lowercase Letters for Diseases

While rare, there are some cases where diseases are written with both capitalized and lowercase letters. For instance, multiple sclerosis (MS) is commonly written as “Multiple Sclerosis,” with only the first letter of each word capitalized, as well as the acronym MS.

Capitalization in Medical Journals

When it comes to medical journals and scientific writing, the rules for capitalizing diseases can vary. Some journals have their own style guides that may differ from the general rules mentioned earlier in this article.

It is crucial to check the specific journal’s guidelines before submitting an article to ensure all the capitalizations are correct and consistent with their requirements.


When it comes to capitalizing diseases, it is essential to review the specific name of the disease to see if it is named after a person or place, an acronym, or a general disease category. Remember to stay consistent with your capitalization and always check the guidelines of the journal or publication you are submitting to.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Do I capitalize symptoms of a disease? No, symptoms of a disease are not capitalized.
  • Do I capitalize the word “disease” after the name of a disease? No, the word “disease” is not capitalized after the name of a disease. For example, it should be “Alzheimer’s disease” instead of “Alzheimer’s Disease.”
  • What about virus and bacteria names? Virus and bacteria names should be capitalized as well. For example, Ebola virus, Staphylococcus aureus.
  • Do I capitalize the name of a disease in the middle of a sentence? Yes, if the disease name is a proper noun, it should be capitalized even in the middle of a sentence.


“Do You Capitize the Names of Conditions and Diseases?” Verywell Health,

“When To Capitalize And When To Use Lowercase Letters In Writing?” The Babble Out, 9 July 2021,

“Why Don’t We Capitalize ‘cancer’? And ‘alzheimer’s’? Style Guides Explain.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 27 May 2015,

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