Difference Between Bacterial Infection and Viral Infection

Core difference

Although both infections are caused by microbes. The main difference between a bacterial and a viral infection is that the bacterium is a single-celled organism that has a cell wall and tends to reproduce on its own. Viruses do not have a proper cell wall and are obligate parasites, multiplying only within the host. Bacterial infections are caused by bacteria and viral infections are caused by viruses.

What is a bacterial infection?

Bacterial infection can be mild to severe. The bacteria can cause anything from a simple throat infection to serious, life-threatening illnesses. They are also capable of existing in extreme environments. If a person gets a bacterial infection, it is assumed that they have a fever and also an increased lymphocyte count. If you are diagnosed with a bacterial infection, the appropriate broad-spectrum antibiotics are given to overcome the illness. Bacterial infection is also transmitted, including through respiratory droplets.

What is a viral infection?

Viruses are obligate parasites, they tend to replicate within the host. They are very small in size, even smaller than bacteria. They are also transmitted from one person to another. Viral infections can be mild to severe. A patient does not experience fever in viral infection, usually. The incubation period for most viruses varies from days to months. We may give antivirals to treat some serious viral infections.

Key differences

  1. Viruses are smaller than bacteria
  2. In bacterial infection, the patient has a fever. But in a viral infection, the patient may or may not have a fever.
  3. In viral infection infection, mucosal color is usually light or white. Whereas in a bacterial infection, the mucosa is usually colored.
  4. In viral infection, generalized symptoms come into play. Bacterial infections are usually localized.
  5. Most viral infections last from 3 to 11 days. While bacterial infections last more than 10 days minimum.
  6. Most bacteria are harmless and are present in the body as opportunistic bacteria. But there is no such scenario in case of virus.

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