What's the difference between bacteria and viruses?
What's the difference between bacteria and viruses? (Smithsonian.com)
What's the difference between bacteria and viruses?
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You asked us, what's the difference between bacteria and viruses?

You see, bacteria are microscopic. They live just about everywhere, including extreme environments like hot springs and radioactive waste.

Now, you can wag a finger at bacteria for things like ear infections and strep throat. But most types aren't harmful.

In fact, some are pretty useful, like the ones that live in our guts and help us digest our food.

Viruses, though, are about 100 times smaller than the average bacteria. And there are probably millions of different kinds out there, many of which are beneficial.

But it's no surprise they get a bad rap when you hear how they do business. A virus is basically a parasitic sack of genes. The genes invade the cells of a living host and force them to create more viruses.

Now, tack on the fact that they're responsible for not just the common cold, but also Ebola and AIDS. It's even easier to see why viruses don't have many fans.

One of the biggest differences between viruses and bacteria has to do with antibiotics. Antibiotics do not work on viruses.

But that and the rise of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria is a story for another day. In the meantime, share our video not pathogens and go wash your hands.

For more infectious stories like this, check us out every day at smithsonian.com.

Critical thinking challenge: Why does the narrator encourage you to wash your hands?
 

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween56/whats-difference-between-bacteria-and-viruses/

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COMMENTS (108)
  • KiraL-1
    2/26/2015 - 11:08 p.m.

    This article is about the difference between bacteria and viruses. Bacteria are found just about everywhere, microscopically. They are some of the main causes of ear infections and strep throat but also help us digest our food. Fortunately, most types of bacteria are not harmful. Even smaller than bacteria are viruses. Some viruses are actually beneficial as well. A virus is a parasitic sack of genes that invade the cells and force them to create more viruses within the host. One of the biggest differences between these two microscopic annoyances is that antibiotics do not work on viruses. I found this article helpful in understanding the difference between these to pathogens.

  • ksadat-5
    2/26/2015 - 11:44 p.m.

    Most people might not know it but there is a difference between viruses and bacteria. Bacteria are microscopic, where viruses are around one hundred times smaller than a bacteria. A virus is a set of genes that goes into a cell and reproduces to make more viruses. Two deadly kinds of viruses are Ebola, which actually had a recent epidemic, and AIDs which has been around for a long time. Viruses are also worse because they can not be treated with antibiotics.

    Viruses are commonly associated with bacteria. For starters, they are not even close to being the same thing. Bacteria are microscopic and viruses are even smaller than that. I didn't know that viruses could not be treated with antibiotics. Now I realize why the disease AIDs in not curable. This was a very interesting article and I am intrueged to learn more about the differences and similarities between bacteria and viruses, why can't viruses be treated with antibiotics where bacteria can?

  • DunhamS-4
    2/26/2015 - 11:48 p.m.

    This article was explaining the difference between bacteria and viruses. Viruses are much smaller than bacteria and have a very bad rep because they are the cause of things like AIDS and Ebola. Bacteria can be very beneficial like helping you digest the food that goes into your stomach. Viruses, however really have only negative outcomes like sickness and even death. This article definitely tackled my confusion on bacteria and viruses quite well, as I wasn't so sure myself.

  • NikkiS-5
    2/26/2015 - 11:53 p.m.

    Bacteria are microscopic and they even live in harsh environmental climates. Extreme climates may include radioactive waste or hot springs. Some bacteria can be harmful and cause strep throat or ear infections. Although, most bacteria are very useful. One type of bacteria is located an your gut and helps you digest food. Viruses are very harmful. They are 100 times smaller than bacteria. A virus is a parasitic sack of genes. Viruses cause illnesses such as Ebola and AIDs. The biggest differences between bacteria and viruses is that antibiotics only work on bacteria. I think that everyone should wash their hands in order to prevent bacteria. Viruses may be very harmful and people should try to prevent themselves from harm ahead of time.

  • DunhamS-4
    2/27/2015 - 12:05 a.m.

    This article was explaining the difference between bacteria and viruses. Viruses are much smaller than bacteria and have a very bad rep because they are the cause of things like AIDS and Ebola. Bacteria can be very beneficial like helping you digest the food that goes into your stomach. Viruses, however really have only negative outcomes like sickness and even death. This article definitely tackled my confusion on bacteria and viruses quite well, as I wasn't so sure myself.

  • JohnL-4
    2/27/2015 - 12:40 a.m.

    There are plenty of differences between bacteria and viruses. Bacteria are living everywhere, even in extreme environments. Most are useful and are needed to survive, but a few are harmful. Viruses are about 100 times smaller, and there are millions. The majority are mainly positive, but they have a bad reputation because of diseases like Ebola and AIDS. Viruses can not be treated, they have to pass through the body. I think it is interesting how bacteria and viruses are often classified as the same thing even if they aren't.

  • LucasF-1
    2/27/2015 - 12:42 a.m.

    Bacteria are 100 times bigger than viruses. Viruses force cells to create more viruses. They are basically parasitic sacks of DNA. Viruses also can't be treated with antibiotics like bacteria can. They can only be treated by treating the symptoms they cause. The are good and bad viruses and bacteria. I think it is interesting how important bacteria and viruses are.

  • Kaylab-5
    2/27/2015 - 01:45 a.m.

    This article is about the difference between a virus and a bacteria. Bacteria is microscopic and lives almost anywhere. They can be very bad, but bacteria also has some ups. A virus is a parasitic sack of genes that invade cells forcing them to crate even more viruses. I find this topic very interesting to learn about. I would love to know about the good in viruses because all I hear about is the bad things they do to a person.

  • sophies-4
    2/27/2015 - 02:47 a.m.

    This article is about the difference between bacteria and viruses. Bacteria are super small and are found every where, even in extreme conditions. Bacteria is responsible for sicknesses like strep throat and ear infections. Viruses are way smaller than Bacteria and many of them are beneficial. Viruses are also responsible for diseases like AIDS and Ebola. I did not realize that bacteria and viruses were so different. I also did not know that they were responsible for a lot of we'll known diseases.

  • CheyenneU2015
    2/27/2015 - 09:10 a.m.

    That's cool I always wanted to know what bacteria was made of and to be honest it was cool knowing the difference from bacteria and viruses.

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