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The camel disease terminology of pastoralists in northern Kenya differentiates between two respiratory disease complexes of camels. Participatory epidemiology data were collected in 2011 in three camel keeping communities (Gabra, Garri, and Somali) and analysed to assess the validity of this differentiation. Further queries assessed recurrence of the disease in the same animal, most affected age group, relative frequency of occurrence, morbidity rates, mortality rates and response to antibiotic treatment. Based on matrix scoring the cardinal symptom nasal discharge was significantly correlated with Respiratory Disease Complex 1 (RDC1; Somali Hergeb, Gabra & Garri Furri) while cough was correlated with Respiratory Disease Complex 2 (RDC2; Somali Dhuguta, Gabra Qufa, Garri Dhugud). RDC1 appears to occur regularly every year and does not respond to antibiotic treatments while outbreaks of RDC2 are only observed at intervals of several years and treated cases do generally respond to antibiotics. While RDC1 is more severe in calves, RDC 2 is mostly associated with respiratory disease in adults. Elements of this differentiation appear to be in agreement with other authors who differentiate between camel influenza (PI3 virus) and bacterial camel pneumonia, respectively.