A Rose by Any Other Name: Practical Updates on Microbial Nomenclature for Clinical Microbiology
Journal of Clinical Microbiology January 2017 V.55 N.1 P.3-4
Colleen S. Kraft, Alexander J. McAdam, and Karen C. Carroll
aDepartment of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
bDepartment of Laboratory Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
cDivision of Medical Microbiology, Department of Pathology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
The clinical microbiology laboratory stands at the interface between basic science, including the study of phylogeny, and applications of science in the very practical world of medical care.
In this context, it is important that laboratory reports balance scientific accuracy with medical utility, and it is particularly difficult to do this in the naming of microorganisms.
New organisms are discovered and named, and our understanding of the relationships between known organisms improves, resulting in the reclassification and renaming of organisms as they are sorted into the correct groups.
In this issue of Journal of Clinical Microbiology, we are pleased to provide several minireviews that are intended to help clinical microbiologists keep up-to-date with changes in nomenclature for bacteria (1), parasites (2), viruses (3), and fungi (4).
Most of these minireviews focus on human pathogens, but the minireview on viruses includes those affecting nonhuman animals.
An article about mycobacterial nomenclature is in preparation and will be published in Journal of Clinical Microbiology when available. The idea for this informative resource was proposed by Dr. Karen Carroll at the editors’ meeting in 2015.
The editors enthusiastically agreed these reviews would be a useful resource for clinical microbiologists, infectious diseases physicians, laboratory technologists, pharmacists, and infection preventionists, in addition to fostering discussion and teaching of trainees and students.
Several editors volunteered to write the articles, and we plan to update these minireviews every 2 years if they prove to be as useful as we expect….