The difference between a virus and a bacteria

Bacteria and viruses are both very small. Both can make people quite ill. For both, the stronger your immune system, the less likely you are to contract a disease. The similarities pretty much end there. Here you can read about the difference between a bacterium and a virus. You can also read which diseases are caused by a virus and which by a bacteria. NB! This article is written from the personal view of the author and may contain information that is not scientifically substantiated and/or in line with the general view.


  • Bacteria
  • Virus
  • Useful viruses have never been discovered
  • Reproduction
  • Diseases caused by bacteria
  • Diseases caused by viruses



The bacterium is a single-celled life form and has a metabolism. It is completely ‘self-sufficient’, eats, drinks and reproduces. It just reproduces differently than animal species; the bacterium splits itself. This mechanical yet living creature occurs everywhere in nature, including in the human body. Most bacteria are useful. Intestinal flora consists of living and very useful bacteria for humans. Some bacteria can cause disease. This can be combated with antibiotics.


A virus is 100 times smaller than a bacterium. It cannot be considered a life form. He has no metabolism so he doesn’t eat or drink. It is a protein shell with a piece of DNA or RNA material inside. They feed on DNA from another life cell, for example from a plant, animal or human. Some viruses cause disease in the ‘host’. A viral disease cannot be combated with antibiotics. However, antibiotics are sometimes given to a patient to prevent bacterial diseases. Because the body’s immune system is weakened, bacterial diseases are more likely to develop.

Useful viruses have never been discovered

In contrast to the existence of beneficial bacteria, the existence of beneficial viruses has not been sufficiently demonstrated. Viruses therefore seem to exist solely to make organisms sick. Fighting a viral disease can be a long-term issue. Some viruses never go away completely. Long-term viral infections can lead to cancer, such as cervical cancer.


A bacterium reproduces by dividing itself in two. It makes an extra cell wall and divides in half. A virus replicates itself by using DNA material from a host cell. The virus uses a host cell to reproduce. The virus cell injects its DNA into the host cell and the host cell ensures that new viruses are created.
Below is a list of viral and bacterial diseases that occur in humans:

Diseases caused by bacteria

Diseases caused by bacteria:

  • Diphtheria
  • Cholera
  • Whooping cough
  • Syphilis
  • Typhus
  • Black Death
  • Salmonella
  • Legionella
  • Leprosy
  • Tetanus


Diseases caused by viruses

Diseases caused by a virus:

  • Cold
  • Flu (Influenza)
  • Shingles
  • Smallpox
  • Chicken-pox
  • Cold sores
  • The measles
  • Avian flu
  • Hepatitis A
  • Polio
  • AIDS
  • Ebola
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