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When we define a disease for research, treatment, or disease-control purposes, and in simple communication about disease, common standards of diagnostic nomenclature are essential. In most diseases, nomenclature and classification of stages have posed problems. Often compromises have been developed, based on the best judgment available. These classification schemes serve certain needs, most often in terms of control or treatment, but are sometimes found insufficiently exact for research programs or other highly technical purposes. Experience has shown that a scheme of classification, prepared by those familiar with the disease, which is widely accepted and, more important, widely used, is invaluable in support of broad-scale public health programs.
The confusion of nomenclature on yaws, the wide variety of local terms, and until recently the lack of a clear-cut conception of how the disease evolves, have been handicaps in effecting control.