The Infectious Disease Ontology

Ontologies Development Strategy Consortium

The IDO ontologies are designed as a set of interoperable ontologies that will together provide coverage of the infectious disease domain. At the core of the set is a general Infectious Disease Ontology (IDO-Core) of entities relevant to both biomedical and clinical aspects of most infectious diseases. Sub-domain specific extensions of IDO-Core complete the set providing ontology coverage of entities relevant to specific pathogens or diseases. The sub-domain specific IDO extensions currently under development are:

More information about each of these ontologies can be found on the IDO Extensions page.


Development of the IDO set of ontologies is a community-wide effort focused on the development of a set of interoperable ontologies that together provide coverage of the infectious disease domain. The IDO set of ontologies includes a general Infectious Disease Ontology (IDO-Core) along with sub-domain-specific ontologies developed as extensions of the neutral core. This modular approach affords many benefits. Each sub-domain-specific ontology can be developed and maintained by researchers expert in that particular disease ensuring biological accuracy. The resulting division of labor allows rapid progress towards the needed set of ontologies. Coordination of the development effort through the use of IDO-Core ensures interoperability between the sub-domain-specific ontologies.

The IDO ontologies are being developed in accordance with the principles of the Open Biomedical Ontologies (OBO) Foundry and with extensive use of its member ontologies. This approach ensures that IDO and its sub-domain-specific extensions have sufficient underlying formalism to support computational analyses and automated reasoning and that they are interoperable with other relevant biomedical and clinical ontologies, including those outside the domain of infectious diseases.

Ontology documents, software, and issue tracking occurs at our site.


In recent years, the benefits of ontology for the management, integration, and processing of data and information have been realized, resulting in a surge of interest in ontology within the biomedical research community and the NIH. As yet, however, there is little ontology coverage of the infectious disease domain resulting in both an urgent need for ontology development in this field and the opportunity for a coordinated, community-wide effort rooted in ontology development best practices.

To achieve this, we have formed an Infectious Disease Ontology Consortium that has as its mission the creation and maintenance of the described set of ontologies. We invite interested researchers to visit the Consortium page and to join.

The IDO developers gratefully acknowledge the support of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.














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