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Differences Between Bacterial & Viral Infection | 7097


Differences Between Bacterial & Viral Infection

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Bacterial vs. Viral Infections – Viruses and bacteria cause many mild and serious infections. They cause similar symptoms. Both spread in the same way. Despite these similarities, viruses and bacteria have several differences.

To know the major differences between these two kinds of infectious organisms, keep reading this article.

Viruses – Viruses are a type of microorganism. They are diverse and have varied shapes and features. They are complicated in the sense they are neither living nor non-living.  A virus cannot function without interacting with a living cell. They are thus parasitic. By itself, they cannot do anything and require a host cell to replicate. They invade cells of the human body, using the components of the body cells and grow exponentially.

Common Viral Infections

Some common viral infections are:

• Warts
• Influenza
• Chickenpox
• Common Cold
• Viral Gastroenteritis
• Measles
• Viral Meningitis
• Viral Hepatitis
• Zika Virus
• West Nile Virus
• Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

Bacteria – Bacteria are microorganisms made up of a single cell. They are living organisms. They have several shapes and structural features. They can live in every conceivable environment. They can live inside as well as outside the human body. The bacteria that cause infections are referred to as pathogenic bacteria.

Common Bacterial Infections

Common bacterial infections are:

    • Strep Throat
• Tetanus
• Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
• Gonorrhea
• Bacterial Food Poisoning
• Tuberculosis
• Lyme Disease
• Bacterial Meningitis

How are Viral and Bacterial Infections Transmitted?

Bacteria and virus can enter a human body via:

  • Cuts
  • Contact with contaminated surfaces
  • Contact with the body fluids of a person with a viral infection
  • Close contact with a person who has a viral infection
  • Insect bite
  • Consumption of contaminated food or water
  • Breathing in exhaled air or droplets released by an infected person when he/she sneezes or coughs.


Identifying viral or bacterial symptoms is difficult as symptoms of both the infectious organisms are similar. To check this, doctors often ask for the ‘culture’ test which helps them identify the disease-causing microorganism. The test enables them to identify the bugs under a microscope and they proceed with the treatment procedure.

If you have a cough, cold, muscle pain, or any other problems, consult your doctor immediately. Being careless can lead the infection from mild to severe which can become cumbersome to control later.



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