Showing posts with label Infection. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Infection. Show all posts

Apr 4, 2014

Virus vs. Bacteria

Viruses and bacteria are very different and they can both be either beneficial or harmful. A virus is both living and non-living, and is incapable of reproducing on its own, while bacteria are complete, living organisms that can self-replicate. Bacteria are usually much larger, come in a wider variety of shapes, and serve in more beneficial roles than a virus.

Infections and illnesses can be viral or bacterial. We often hear the terms, and we might even have a vague idea of what they mean, but a complete understanding of the difference between the two can help you treat the illnesses they cause.

Viruses are tiny, microscopic things that exist in two different states. When they are floating in the air or lying on a table waiting for someone to come by and inhale them, they are non-living and inert. Once they are absorbed into a living host, they activate. A virus cannot replicate on its own, and requires a host cell to attach itself to in order to multiply. Some microbiologists classify viruses as microorganisms, while others don't because they are "nonliving" and describe viruses as microscopic infective agents.

After contacting a host cell, a virus will insert genetic material into the host and take over that host's functions. The infected cell continues to reproduce, but it reproduces more viral protein and genetic material instead of its usual products. It is this process that earns viruses the classification of "parasite".

However, a virus can also be useful, because a virus will naturally attach itself to a healthy living cell, a virus can be used as a delivery system when genetic material needs to be transferred to a human body. Injecting a virus with genetic material then releasing it into the body can result in the delivery and replication of cells. This type of gene therapy is still experimental, but showing progress. Some types of viruses can also target and destroy some types of bacteria, like E. coli.

Bacteria are tiny, living organisms that are not classified as either plant or animal. As such, they don’t rely on hosts in order to reproduce, and can exist, grow, and multiply outside of a living body. Few know that many bacteria not only coexist with us all the time, but help us do an array of useful things, like make vitamins, break down garbage, and maintain our atmosphere.

Bacteria consist of a single cell and have been found living in temperatures above the boiling point and in freezing cold. They consume everything from sugar and starch to sunlight, sulfur, and iron. There is a species of bacteria that can withstand blasts of radiation 1,000 times greater than would kill a human being. A gram of soil typically contains about 40 million bacterial cells. A milliliter of fresh water usually holds about one million bacterial cells.

A single bacterium contains more than a virus and can reproduce on its own. That means a cell wall, genetic material, and an appendage to propel itself. It’s different from plant and animal cells, however, as there’s no nucleus to contain the genetic material.

When magnified, a virus appears round. Bacteria can be a number of different shapes, including the ball-shaped, rod-shaped, and spiral. Within each general group of shape types, there is a wide variety that separates bacteria even further.

Because of their simplicity, a virus can be 10,000 times smaller than a bacterium. Examples of both can be found just about anywhere on Earth, in any environment.

Determining whether an illness is caused by bacteria or a virus determines how it is treated. Bacteria are vulnerable to antibiotics, while anti-viral agents are required to kill a virus, and vaccinations can help prevent them from infecting a body.

Dec 5, 2012

Secure Message Isn't

This week I received an email from that was titled: "You have received a secure message." It had an attachment and the message said to download the attachment and read it. It also gave a 888 number to call if I had questions. I looked it up and found it was a cell phone number in India.

Many infections to computers come from this type of spam. If you see something that you suspect, the best thing to do is delete the message. Never open an attachment.