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Difference between Bacteria and Virus

Bacteria and viruses are the culprit of many common infections. However, there are differences between the two infectious organisms (Bacteria Vs Viruses).

Difference between Bacteria and Virus
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Key differencesBacteriaViruses
Definition They are unicellular organisms found in most habitats on earth.They are non-living particles consist of genetic material (RNA or DNA) enclosed by a protein core. They are organic structures that interact with living organisms.
Where do they grow?They grow in harsh conditions such as a deep portion of the crust of the earth, radioactive waste, and acidic hot springs.They are infectious agents that need a host to replicate.
ClassificationThey are classified according to their morphology:
Cocci – spherical-shaped bacteria
Vibrio – comma-shaped bacteria
Bacillus – rod-shaped bacteria
Spirilla – spiral-shaped bacteria
Spirochaetes – tightly coiled bacteria
They are classified according to core content, presence of outer envelope, the structure of capsid, and the way mRNA is produced.
What they infect?They infect all life forms.They can infect all forms of life including bacteria and archaea.
Where can they be found?They are found in the ecosystem.They are found in the earth’s ecosystem.
How are they visualized?They are visualized under a light microscope.They are visualized by means of negative staining.
Reproduction requirementBacteria can grow and reproduce without a hostViruses need a host to reproduce as they replicate inside the host.
SizeThey are large in size (around 1000 nm).They are small in size (20 to 400 nm)
Presence of cell WallThe cell wall contains peptidoglycan / lipopolysaccharide.hey don’t have a cell wall but has a protein coat.
Number of cellsThey are unicellularThey do not have cells.
cellular structureBacteria are cells and are prokaryotic in nature (displaying characteristics of a living organism)They are not cells and exist as DNA or RNA particles and enveloped within a protein shell.
Presence of ribosomesThey contain ribosomes.
They don’t have ribosomes.
Genetic materialsThey contain a single circular chromosome.They have strands of DNA/RNA.
MetabolismThey metabolize within the cell.Metabolism is not present in a viral particle.
Reproduction processThe reproduction process takes place through the process of binary fission and conjugation.They reproduce by invading the host cell and create copies of genetic materials/proteins. They destroy the host cell and release new particles.
Utilization of cellular machineryThey possess cellular machinery.They don’t have cellular machinery.
BenefitsThey can be categorized as harmful or beneficial. Some bacteria are considered good or healthy, especially those found in the gut.They are harmful, but some are used for genetic engineering purposes.
Ability to infect/Nature of infectionThey cause localized infections.They cause systemic infections.
How long the infection last?They last longer than 10 days.The duration of the illness varies between 2 and 10 days.
Does it cause a fever?They cause fever.They may or may not cause fever.
Treatment and management They are treated and managed using antibiotics.They can be prevented using vaccines.
Presence of ribosomes YesNo
NucleusAbsentAbsent
Presence of enzymesPresentPresent in some
Virulence YesYes
Incubation periodIt varies depending on the type of bacteria, but usually within 1 to 2 weeksIt primarily depends on what kind of virus causes the disease. The incubation could take a few days to weeks.
CharacteristicsThey are single-celled organisms.
Some of them grow as independent single cells while some are multi-cellular fruiting bodies and play an important role in the life cycle.
They do not have complex organelles in the cell.
 They have an internal organization but don’t have a plasma membrane-like other living cells.
Bacterial cells have ribosomes (spherical units) where protein assembles from amino acids using the data encoded in the DNA ribosome.
They do not have cellular organelles and cytoplasm.
They do not perform metabolic activities.
They may only contain DNA or RNA. They can’t contain both.
They reproduce at a tremendous amount, but they need a living host to replicate.
Many viruses have the ability to mutate.
Viruses are like parasites; they use the host cell’s metabolic machinery.
They alone cannot grow and divide, they would need a host cell to produce and assemble their viral components.
Which is more fatal?Only about 1% of bacteria cause disease.The majority of viruses cause diseases.
Symptoms/clinical manifestations The symptoms are confined to a particular infected area of the body as well as the type of bacteria that causes it. Typical clinical manifestations include the following:
Swelling
Pain
Redness
Nausea and vomiting
Fever
Typical symptoms of viral infections are:
Respiratory symptoms like cough and cold
Sneezing
Tiredness
Diarrhea
Nausea and vomiting
Difference in transmissionExposure to body fluids
Close contact with an infectious person
Touching contaminated surfaces
Mother to child transmission during childbirth
Contact with infected animals/carriers
Exposure to body fluids
Close contact with an infectious person
Touching contaminated surfaces
Mother to child transmission during childbirth
Contact with infected animals/carriers
Examples of diseases and illnessesTuberculosis, strep throat, urinary tract infectionHIV, herpes zoster, influenza, rabies, common cold, and COVID-19 (coronavirus)
Common names and strainsBacillus
Coccus
Vibrio cholera
Rickettsia
Staphylococcus aureus
Helicobacter bacteria
Streptococcus pneumonia
Hepatitis A Virus
Papillomavirus
Ebola Virus
Hanta Virus
Rotavirus
SARS-CoV
SARS-CoV-2
 Zika Virus
Nairovirus
How to prevent the spread of infection?Hand washing
Using alcohol and hand sanitizer
Practice good hygiene
Avoid touching the face as organisms can enter through the mucus membranes of the face.
Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
Use bleach when disinfecting as it is effective in killing bacteria.
Hand washing
Using alcohol and hand sanitizer
Practice good hygiene
Avoid touching the face as organisms can enter through the mucus membranes of the face.
Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
Use bleach when disinfecting as it is effective in killing viruses.
Similarities Do not have a nucleus
Both cause diseases
Both microscopic in size
Both have virulence
Do not have a nucleus
Both cause diseases
Both microscopic in size
Both have virulence

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