classification of disease

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Arrangement of diseases into groups according to an orderly logical system, usually based on diagnostic categories, organ or system affected, or underlying pathological process. Early attempts to establish such a classification evolved from the bills of mortality, the writings of the English physician Thomas Sydenham (1624–1689), and the clinical and pathological nosology of the Scottish physician William Cullen (1710–1790) to a combination based on a hierarchy of identifiable causes, including trauma, infections, cancer, conditions affecting various body systems, etc., developed by the English medical statistician William Farr (1807–1883) and his Swiss colleague Marc d'Espine (1803–1860). This was the precursor of the numerical taxonomy of the Bertillon classification, which was adopted by the International Statistical Institute in 1893. Successive revisions at approximately 10-year intervals since then have incorporated refinements based on growth of knowledge and understanding that led to the increased number of rubrics and modified chapters of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD).

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.

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