Difference between Bacteria and Viruses

The world does not limit only what we can observe, beyond our sight there is a whole universe of living organisms and agents that in some cases can even affect our life and health; as they can be the cause of various diseases.  Difference between Bacteria and Viruses

Today we will see the difference that exists between organisms such as bacteria, which can cause different diseases and viruses; which can also be very harmful to our health.


Bacteria are living organisms, just like plants and animals. They are very small, measuring a few microns in size (micron = 0.001mm). They are different from other cell forms in that they do not have any nuclei. Many bacteria live in our skin, mouth and intestine; helping in the digestion process and keeping the number of bad bugs in our body regulated.

Most bacteria are made up of a ring of DNA, surrounded by cellular machinery, contained in a fatty membrane.

Compared to viruses, bacteria are much larger. They are intercellular organisms that can have different shapes: Coco = spherical shape, Bacillus = rod shape, Spyril = spiral shape …

Antibiotics are used to treat diseases caused by bacteria. Bacteria can cause diseases such as: cholera, lyme disease, tuberculosis, salmonella, diphtheria, tetanus, E. coli, leprosy …

Bacteria draw their energy from essential sources such as humans, sugars, proteins, and fats. They can be transmitted through direct contact with an infected person, through contaminated food or water (E. coli, Salmonella), dirty objects, and infected animals.

Bacteria reproduce by binary fusion, that is, they divide into two cells.

Some move in the middle using a structure known as a flagellum.


A virus is a genetic material or mobile agent that remains encased in a protein or fatty shell. Viruses are smaller than bacteria and their size ranges from 0.1 to 0.3 microns. They were discovered a little before the year 1900.

The discussion about viruses revolved around whether or not they are considered as living beings, but as today it is known that they are only DNA and RNA molecules; that is, they are not cells, they are not considered living beings.

Viruses are nothing more than a small piece of genetic material surrounded by a thin layer of protein, although some also have a thin envelope and fatty acids. This protein envelope is known as a capsid.

Viruses, unlike bacteria, are usually only harmful to health. Among the diseases caused by viruses are: influenza, HIV / AIDS, hepatitis, measles, herpes, chickenpox, smallpox, poliomyelitis, Ebola; among other.

Viruses affect both humans and animals. They are transmitted by air and by contact with contaminated people or objects. Viruses get into cells and feed on them.

Viruses have no flagella or other structure, like bacteria; therefore, they cannot move on their own.

Key differences between viruses and bacteria

  1. Viruses are not living things, but bacteria are.
  2. Bacteria may or may not be useful for health, but viruses are usually always harmful.
  3. Viruses are smaller than bacteria.
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