Bacteria are quite complex in their structure. They have a cell wall and membrane, which
can be surrounded by a slimy layer called the capsule. Inside they have their own DNA
and ribosomes, tiny organelles to make proteins. Many bacteria move my means of a
propelling flagella, which is attached to one end. Some can have long filaments that
extend from all over their surface ~ these are used to lash out and attached the bacteria to
solid surfaces. Bacteria live independently and can colonise any place you can think of.
Viruses, in contrast, are not much more than DNA in a protein packet. A virus tends to
have only a handful of genes and it uses these to produce a protein case and enough
proteins to get inside the cells of its host. Unlike bacteria, viruses cannot live and
reproduce independently ~ they need to hijack the machinery of another cell. This can be
a bacterium, an animal cell or a plant cell. Viruses do not survive very well outside their
hosts and survive only by moving from one host cell to another.
• Viruses must have a living host to multiply whereas most bacteria can grow on
• Viruses are the smallest and simplest life form known. They are 10 to 100 times
smaller than bacteria.
• Viruses invade their host's cells and turn the cell's genetic material from its
normal function to producing the virus itself.
• Bacteria carry all the machinery needed for their growth and multiplication, while
viruses carry mainly information - for example, DNA or RNA, packaged in a
protein and/or membranous coat. Viruses, on the other hand, harness the host
cell's machinery to reproduce. In a sense, viruses are not truly "living," but are
essentially information (DNA or RNA) that float around until they encounter a
suitable living host.
Just for the book, Swine Flu is a VIRUS. It is a new virus though because it is a
combination of human, bird and pig genetic materials which have come into contact with
each other and have replicated and reproduced copies of themselves from living cells.
Birds, pigs or humans, we all have living cells that are necessary for viruses to live.
I love talking about viruses. I try to do some on line counseling for Herpes and Hpv and
they are both viruses. I also do a lot of work in the area of HIV and find that although the
HIV virus can be a killer, with beneficially proven research and continuous medicine
therapy on the part of the patient, even the HIV virus can be kept at bay. Some viruses are
smart and with the right tools, as well as aggressive research in the area of viruses, we
can control them. Viruses cannot be killed. Bacteria are living organisms and can be
killed. Some viruses can only be controlled at best.
Viruses and bacteria are both a type of microbe, invisible to the naked eye.
Bacteria are larger than viruses and bacteria are much more complex than viruses.
Bacteria are 100 times larger than viruses. They have to be, to house all the components
they must use to reproduce themselves. Bacteria is the plural of bacterium.
You see, bacteria have all the right stuff they need to copy themselves. They have a map
or a type of blueprint on how to do this and possess all the right genetic stuff to remake
exact copies. A bacterium is totally self-contained and doesn’t need any help from
another living body or material. It can multiply and make copies of itself, all by itself, on
almost any and all surfaces, including people.
The bacteria can then reproduce and reproduce and reproduce until it is killed off by
some type of intervention, such as a chemical agent. This chemical agent can be a bottle
of bleach or a prescription of antibiotics. About 99% of all bacterium are harmless to
humans, some even help mankind. But the big difference for bacteria is that it doesn’t
need a host to live and bacteria is self sufficient.
Viruses, on the other hand, must have assistance from another living organism to
reproduce. Viruses are actually hitch hikers. Invaders. Genetic Moochers. They are
without the proper genetic tools to make any sort of copies of themselves independently.
Viruses hitch a ride on other cells and actually invade them. Yes! Viruses cut little holes
into the cell and inject themselves into the cell or the virus can actually be swallowed by
the cell. The virus then uses the genetic tools of that cell to reproduce more copies of
itself, to make sure that strain of the virus survives. When a virus invades a cell and
begins to make copies of itself, the cell get full and actually bursts and many thousands of
new copies of that virus emerge and attach themselves to other healthy cells and the
whole thing starts over again.
The body may not even know that it has an invader and so offers no antibody (soldier
cell) response. By the time the body knows it has been invaded, the virus may have made
many, many copies of itself and will be harder to get under control. The first round of
medicines used to treat viruses, called Antiviral Drugs, may not even be the correct
formation of antiviral agents to best control that virus. Sometimes that can be trial and
Viruses also can lie dormant, meaning they sleep or rest somewhere in the host waiting
for a suitable opportunity to emerge. Herpes is a virus that can lie dormant for days,
months or years before something stirs it to action and it becomes a problem for the host.
Most of the time viruses are just doing their thing. The damage or illness to the host is
just an unfortunate side affect for the host and a smorgasbord for the virus.
Researchers and doctors are still attempting to figure out the operating mechanisms of
viruses. Antiviral medication can work but can never “kill” the virus. Antiviral medicines
do greatly assist when our own body’s antibody response isn’t enough to keep the virus
or the reaction to the host at bay. Antiviral drugs suppress the virus making the damage to
the host less violent and harmful. A successful vaccination for viruses can only be
obtained through continuous research to better understand how viruses work.
Bacteria or virus the result on the patient can be tough. One of the ways to protect
yourself against bacteria is to wash, wash, and wash your hands, your children’s hands,
use gel hand sanitizers and wipes when necessary. Cover the cough. Contain the sneeze.
To protect you from viruses is a bit harder. In regards to avoiding the swine flu virus,
hand washing, barrier protection for yourself and others, masking up when you are in
populated areas. Eating ham, bacon, sausage or any pig products will not get you the
swine flu virus just like NOT eating them will not help you avoid it. Good personal and
public health practices are always the best first line of defense.
Viruses of a sexual nature are shed and passed on through blood, body fluids; semen and
vaginal fluids and sharing articles contaminated with that virus. Do not share or reuse
needles for any purpose. If you are intimate with someone who has a virus (that you may
not want to share) use barrier methods such as a female condom or a regular male
condom. Know that these are not 100% affective against viruses because there are still
areas left uncovered and all it takes it skin to skin contact and an open portal such as a
cut, open pore or the microscopic rips and tears we experience when we have sexual
intercourse and a virus can enter your body. My advice on this one is to know your
sexual partners and have total and honest communication before intimacy.