Viruses & Bacterias

Viruses and bacteria are two types of potentially disease-causing (pathogenic) particles.

  • A microorganism that is smaller than a bacterium that cannot grow or reproduce apart from a living cell. A virus invades living cells and uses their chemical machinery to keep itself alive and to replicate itself. … Viruses may contain either DNA or RNA as their genetic material.
  • Bacteria are capable of reproducing on their own. They are microscopic living organisms, usually one-celled, that can be found everywhere. Bacteria have a number of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals. Bacteria were among the first life forms to appear on Earth and are present in most of its habitats. They can be dangerous, such as when they cause infection, or beneficial, as in the process of fermentation (such as in wine) and that of decomposition.
  • The symptoms of viral and bacterial illnesses are sometimes similar. A doctor can determine the underlying cause of an illness based on the patient’s symptoms and other factors. Lab tests may help clarify whether an illness is due to a virus, bacteria, or other infectious agent or disease process.
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