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_bacteria__test_tube_testing-header

Viruses vs Bacteria

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 [&hellip

GEN-impact-petcarers-girl-with-dog-header

MRSP

What are MRSP and Staphylococcus pseudintermedius? Staphylococcus pseudintermedius is a bacterium that is commonly found on the skin or in the nose or intestinal tract of 50% of more of [&hellip

GEN-bacteria-bugs-explained-header

Bugs Explained

Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is only one of a number of bacteria that can be resistant to lots of different antibiotics. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a relatively common finding in long-standing [&hellip

How we have Helped

18 months ago my beautiful black Labrador Brooke became ill with a cough and a massive ear infection. The ear infection responded to treatment BUT the cough never cleared. My [&hellip

Nicolla – Brooke

Freya is our 2 1/2 year old Doberman. On the 16th September 2007, she was running to pick up her toy in the park and as she turned to come [&hellip

Chris and Julie – Freya

View more

Corporate Supporters

Educational Partners

Media Supporters

Supporters