UK Registered Charity 1122246 This website would not be possible without the kind help of Tony Martin of the “AV Martin Charitable Foundation”

The differences between bacteria and viruses

Author – Elaine Pendlebury BA BSc  BVetMed DMS MRCVS  Senior Veterinary Surgeon (Science & Welfare) PDSA

  • Bacteria (singular is bacterium) are one celled living organisms with complete genetic ‘codes’ made up of DNA and RNA.
  • A virus is a section of DNA or RNA enclosed by a protein shell.
  • Bacteria are over 100 times larger than viruses, but both can still only be seen by using a microscope.
  • Viruses multiply within a living host’s cells but bacteria don’t need this.  They can reproduce on work surfaces, rocks, plastic and other non-living surfaces.  This is one of the main differences between them.
  • Bacteria reproduce by splitting its DNA and RNA genetic material into two.  These two new bacteria then are enclosed by the outer protein shell.
  • Bacteria can divide and go on to produce millions of bacteria from the one alone.
  • Viruses cannot reproduce without a living host.
  • They can lie dormant for thousands of years and attack a host when they come into contact with one.
  • They enter the host’s body and then clamp onto one of the host’s cells.
  • They penetrate the host’s cell and trick the cells to reproduce the virus.
  • Viruses are not truly living.  They are essential packs of information (DNA and RNA) that wander around until they meet the living host who produces more virus particles.

Basically, viruses are dead, not alive;  bacteria are alive, not dead

 

Did you know...

MRSA and other multi drug resistance bacteria are not just a problem in the UK, it is a global issue.

Videos

View more

All about infections

PC_hygiene-prec-header

How Bacteria are Spread

Humans and animals all carry their own specialised colonies of bacteria. These are generally harmless in the normal course of events and serve to prevent the growth of alien bacteria [&hellip

PC-vet-dog-ear-inspection-spotting-infections-header

Spotting Infections

Infections can generally be treated successfully with a single course of antibiotics, which may come in the form of creams or ointments, injections, or tablets, and many infections will even [&hellip

PC-mrsa-in-pigs-field-blue-skies-header

MRSA in Pigs

In spite of worrying reports of the spread of MRSA ST398 in pigs in Europe and N. America, in two recent, major EU surveys (EFSA 2009, 2010) the UK pig industry was [&hellip

How we have Helped

Jahari contracted the canine MRSI from an overdose of an allergy shot. He was supposed to receive an increase of 1/10 of the allergy medicine and was instead injected with [&hellip

Kathleen – Jahari

We adopted Bear, a five year old Shih Tzu in March of 2006. In January 2008 I felt what seemed to be a cyst below his shoulder, and the vet [&hellip

Fritzie Maddock – Bear

View more

Corporate Supporters

Educational Partners

Media Supporters

Supporters