Wikipedia:WikiProject Viruses/Guidelines

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Review and assessment[edit]

Quality scale[edit]

WikiProject article quality grading scheme

Importance scale[edit]

WikiProject article importance scheme

Article mechanics[edit]

Article subject[edit]

Virus articles can be on any level that makes sense in context. In some cases, it makes sense to combine several taxonomic levels in a single article - the family Roniviridae contains only one genus, Okavirus, so the one article can cover the other level too. Most will be about particular taxa, for example:

It may be useful to start with a high-level article, such as a family article, and then split off genus and/or species articles as the material builds to prevent the birth of unwanted stubs.

When creating a new article for a virus, ensure that the capitalization follows the suggested orthography:

  • Orders, families, subfamilies, genera, and species should be written in italics with the first letter capitalized (e.g. genus Ebolavirus belongs to family Filoviridae, order Mononegavirales).
  • Other words aren't capitalized unless they're proper nouns (e.g. Murray River encephalitis virus).

Article titles[edit]

In general, the Latin name should be redirected to the common name and the common name used for article titles - for example:

Sometimes exceptions need to be made, usually when newly discovered viruses do not yet have a formal common name. Also, some distinct groups may be known only by their scientific name. Please create a redirect from the uncapitalised form when applicable.

Article structure[edit]

Whilst not practical to enforce or put forth hard guidelines as to how a virus article is structured, some degree of uniformity can be achieved using the following suggestions:

  • Use a taxobox at the beginning of the article - for the specific viral taxobox used, please see below. This will also provide links back to immediate taxa above and below
  • Provide a short introduction covering most aspects of the article before starting any headers
  • Where applicable, use the following headings
    • Structure - to state the capsid shape, special appendages or viral envelope constitution
    • Genome or Genetic Material - to state the type, shape, sense or strandedness of their nucleic acid
    • Diseases - to discuss any diseases a species or family is known to cause. A list of commonly encountered diseases is very useful for the layperson.

Italics and capitalization[edit]

Italics and/or capitalization are not used for

  • Informal, everyday references (e.g. "the rhinoviruses", not "the Rhinoviruses", c.f. Rhinovirus)
    • However, proper nouns in virus species should always be capitalised (e.g. Murray River encephalitis virus, the Ebola virus)
  • Common or laymen's terms (e.g. "chicken pox", not "chicken pox")
  • Acronyms (e.g. "HIV", not "HIV")
  • Adjectival usage (e.g. "poliovirus polymerase" not "Poliovirus polymerase")

Italics and/or capitalization are used for

  • Specific references to viral taxonomic ranks: orders, families, subfamilies, genera, and species should be written in italics with the first letter capitalized (e.g. genus :Ebolavirus belongs to family Filoviridae, order Mononegavirales)
  • Proper nouns in virus species should be capitalised (e.g. Murray River encephalitis virus, the Ebola virus)

As an example of the above: "The viral species Human herpesvirus 3 (also known as Varicella-zoster virus) causes the common childhood disease known as chicken pox. Vaccines may prove to be useful in preventing human herpesvirus 3 (HHV-3) but due to the severity of symptoms exhibited when contracting the disease later in life, many parents try to get their children exposed to HHV-3 young."


We recommend the de facto standard for Wikipedia virus articles to be the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) method. Good places to see this in action and get an idea of how it works can be found at Virus classification and Taxonomic list of viruses.

A useful website is ICTV Home.

The Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) database ("MeSH Browser". ) also is a useful resource for virus taxonomy.

If you have any suggestions for a better resource, please let us know!