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Illnesses caused by Bacteria vs Viruses

Bacteria and Virus cells are the most common cause of diseases. Both are different in the way they spread, meaning they need different methods of decontamination and protection.
The common cold is spread by both bacteria and virus cells, but many diseases are specifically bactericidal or viracidal.
Let’s first let’s have a look at the difference between bacteria and viruses.


Bacteria is consisted of living organisms that are spread by reproduction. Bacteria cells are larger than virus cells and can be killed by breaking into the cell membrane and/ or interfering with the reproduction process, which will reduce the bacteria population and will eventually die out.

The most common way that bacteria is spread is by contact with someone who is carrying harmful bacteria or touching a surface an infected person has touched without decontaminating it first. Here are just a few diseases that bacteria can cause:

— Common Cold

As mentioned, both viruses and bacteria can cause the common cold. The infection rate typically rises with the fall of the temperature due to colder seasons. Most people usually feel better after a few days, but if the infected person does not rest and stay hydrated, the common cold could lead to something more harmful.

— Meningitis

Meningitis is a disease that inflames the spinal cord and brain and is known to be commonly fatal. If not fatal, Meningitis can cause severe brain damage which affects the person for the rest of their life.

— Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is another severe disease that is spread by bacteria. It affects the lungs and can spread to other vital organs such as the kidneys, brain, liver, etc. Some symptoms such as a severe cough are known to last for more than 4 weeks.

— Cholera

Cholera, while less fatal than the last two previously mentioned, infects the intestine, and causes severe diarrhoea and vomiting, among other symptoms similar to Norovirus. It’s usually spread through contaminated water or air instead of contact.

— Leprosy

Not as common as Meningitis, Tuberculosis, or Cholera, Leprosy (also known as Hansen’s disease) typically affects the body long-term. It can damage the nerves, eyes and skin, and affect respiratory systems. When affecting the nerves, the affected person often loses the ability to feel pain and often leads to them losing limbs or other body parts due to unnoticed wounds or repeated injuries.

— Typhoid

Typhoid is quite a common infection which has symptoms such as a high fever and intestinal issues. It can stay in the body for more than 2 weeks and will eventually make it to the bloodstream if left untreated or treated badly.



Viruses, instead of a living organism, is a microscopic parasite which reproduces by creating copies of itself inside a body’s cells. The only way to kill viruses are to disrupt its genetic material.

Viruses are spread when infected cells enter the mouth or bloodstream. This can be through coughing or sneezing when droplets of saliva are spread into the air and can fall onto surfaces or other people. Virus cells are a lot smaller than bacteria and are notoriously more difficult to kill. Here are some diseases/infections that viruses can cause:

— Common Cold

Again, like bacteria, people can catch a common cold from viral cells. Common colds are the most seen disease that are caused by viruses.

— COVID-19

While everyone is well informed about this virus 2020, the virus that has been a prevalent topic in the last few years is just a testament to how quickly and dangerous they can be. Symptoms include loss of taste and smell, a moderate to severe cough, and often a high temperature. COVID-19 variants differ in symptoms, and it is recommended you keep up to date on any and all new symptoms that may arise.

— Influenza

Influenza, colloquially known as Flu, infection rates tend to rise every single winter. While influenza usually only last a few days, it affects the chest and face and causes fever, headaches, coughing and loss of appetite. To curb the spread of influenza, it is recommended to take the flu vaccine where available to lessen the chances and also symptoms if you do catch it.


Cholera, while less fatal than the last two previously mentioned, infects the intestine, and causes severe diarrhoea and vomiting, among other symptoms similar to Norovirus. It’s usually spread through contaminated water or air instead of contact.

— Hepatitis

Hepatitis is the infection of the liver and is usually caused by a viral infection or liver damage due to drinking alcohol. There are several types of Hepatitis, some that are less severe than others, but some could cause extreme symptoms including loss of liver function or even cancer.

— Chickenpox

While a lot less extreme than the others that have been mentioned, chickenpox is extremely viral in children and affect millions of children annually. Symptoms often include little rashes across the body, and sometimes even a fever, headaches, and a cough.

— Measles

Measles is a more extreme version of chickenpox. Symptoms are more severe and include the skin rashes, inflamed eyes, fever, running nose and cough. Unlike chickenpox, measles is quite fatal to children below 5 years old. The best protection against this virus is a vaccine administered when very young.



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