From staff reports

There's still a lot to be learned from coronavirus, or COVID-19, as the disease continues its widespread havoc across the world, and as Cherokee County awaits its first case.

What is the difference between a virus and a bacterium?

According to James M. Steckelberg, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic, the biggest difference between viruses and bacteria is that bacteria can usually be eliminated by antibiotic drugs. Antibiotic drugs aren't effective against viruses, which require vaccines.

Viruses are smaller than bacteria and they require living hosts to multiply. Viruses can't survive without a living host -- people, animals or plants. But viruses can penetrate the typical face mask, experts say.

When a virus enters the body, it targets cells and takes control of the cell machinery, redirecting it to produce the virus. Other diseases caused by viruses are chickenpox, AIDS, common colds and influenza.

Bacteria - which include strep throat, tuberculosis and urinary tract infections - are single-celled microorganisms that flourish in many different types of environments, including extreme cold or heat. Although there are exceptions, most bacterias don't cause harm to human beings.

Illnesses like pneumonia, meningitis and diarrhea can be caused by both bacterias or viruses.

Recommended for you