Bacteria (singular: bacterium)

Bacteria, also called germs, are microscopic organisms that are not visible to the naked eye. They can only be seen under a microscope. Bacteria are everywhere, both inside and outside of your body. They can live in a variety of environments, from hot water to ice. Some bacteria are good for you, while others can make you sick.

Bacteria are single-celled, living organisms. They have a cell wall and all the components necessary to survive and reproduce, although some may derive energy from other sources. Viruses are not considered to be “living” because they require a host cell to survive long-term, for energy, and to reproduce. Antibiotics are used to fight bacterial infections while antivirals are used to fight viruses.  

Mycobacterium tuberculosis is an example of a bacterium that causes tuberculosis and can lead to death. The most common medications used to treat tuberculosis include; Isoniazid. Rifampicin also known as Rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane)  and Ethambutol (Myambutol). The BCG  (Bacillus Calmette-Guérin) vaccine is used in many countries with a high prevalence of TB to prevent childhood tuberculous, meningitis and miliary disease. The BCG vaccine is in clinical trials to see if it is effective in fighting the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.

TIP: Don’t confuse bacteria with viruses. They are both microorganisms but are different in the way they survive, replicate, and are treated.


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