Bacterial Vs. Viral Infections

Bacterial and viral infections share many things in common and both these types of infections are caused by microbes called as bacteria and virus respectively.

How do these infections spread?

Both these infections spread by the following methods:

• Through sneezing and coughing

• Through bodily contact with infected people

• Through drinks and eatable that is contaminated

• Through contact with infected creatures like insects, pets and livestock.

What can microbes do?

These organisms can cause acute infections that live just for a short period. Even, they can cause chronic infections that can last for weeks or months together or even lifetime infections as well. They can also create latent infections that will not be visible immediately, but will show up over a period of months and years.

What are the differences between bacteria and virus?

Even though, both these organisms cannot be seen via naked eyes, there are differences between them. For instance, bacteria are relatively complex and they are single-celled creatures with tough walls and thin rubbery membrane that surrounds the fluid inside the cell. They have the ability to spread on their own. Reports state that they have existed for more than 3.5 billion years and they have the ability to survive different environment inclusive of extreme cold and hot and so they can live in the human body as well.

Are all bacteria harmful?

No, there are certain good bacteria in the human body that play a major role towards the process of digestion and they have the ability to destroy microbes that causes diseases. They have the ability to fight cancer cells and they provide the nutrients needed for the healthy functioning of the human body. Reports state that only less than a percentage of bacteria can cause disease in people.

Viruses are smaller:

Viruses are generally smaller as compared to bacteria and even the largest virus is smaller than the smallest bacteria. As against bacteria, they just have a protein coat and core of genetic material either a DNA or RNA.  As against bacteria, viruses cannot live without a host. They cannot reproduce themselves and they can do so only by attaching themselves to the cells in the human body. In most of the cases, they modify the cells for creation of new viruses until the cells die. They also have the ability to change normal cells into cancerous cells. Unlike bacteria, most of the viruses are disease creators and they are generally specific about the cells they attack. They even target bacteria and they attack cells that are present in blood, respiratory system and in the liver.

How are these infections diagnosed?

When an individual feels that he/she might have been affected by virus or bacteria, it is better to seek medical help. If necessary, the doctor may order for a blood or urine examination after listening to the symptoms and after physical examination. Even, a culture test can be suggested to determine the level of virus or bacteria present in the body. In rare cases, a biopsy of the affected tissue may be needed.

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