Bacteria and Virus Facts

Bacteria and viruses are very small organisms. Bacterial cells do not have a nucleus, and most have no organelles with membranes round them. However, they do have DNA, and their biochemistry is basically the same as other living things. A virus, on the other hand, is a tiny parasite which can infect living organisms.
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  • Bacteria help our bodies in several ways. They help with the digestion of food, and they help us to produce needed vitamins. Almost all bacteria are helpful to our health and well-being. Only a few types of bacteria cause disease. Many harmful organisms in our bodies are destroyed by bacteria.
  • Helpful bacteria help to purify water and they also are used to help breakdown the oil caused by oil spills.
  • Vaccines are created by using weakened bacteria.
  • Bacteria also help to make sourdough bread, yogurt, milk and cheese.
  • There are more bacterial cells in your body than there are human cells.
  • Viruses are about a thousand times smaller than bacteria and bacteria are much smaller than most human cells.
  • Scientists estimate that bacteria produce nearly half the oxygen found in the atmosphere.
  • Other than causing sore throat, cough, mild respiratory illness like runny nose without fever, a virus can also cause severe illness such as pneumonia.
  • A virus must have a host cell (bacteria, plant or animal) in which to live and make more viruses. Outside of a host cell, viruses cannot function.
  • A virus can enter our bodies through our nose, mouth or a break in the skin. Once they are inside the body, they must find a host cell to infect.