The term MRSA virus gets used quite a bit to describe MRSA infections. Unfortunately, this term is not only inaccurate, it can also cause crucial misunderstandings about what MRSA is and how it’s treated.
Basically, MRSA is a bacteria, not a virus. Common examples of bacteria that can cause infections are MRSA, Staph, Strep., E. coli, Salmonella and C. difficile. Some of the most common viruses are hepatitis, herpes, HIV/AIDS, the flu and the common cold.
Viruses and bacteria are completely different in almost every way, although they can cause many of the same infection symptoms. While there is no MRSA virus, understanding the differences between a bacteria and a virus could help if you have MRSA.
Bacteria versus viruses
Viruses are much smaller than bacteria – up to 10,000 times smaller. One of the biggest differences between bacteria and viruses is how they reproduce. Bacteria reproduce by dividing themselves (cell division) to make copies of themselves. Viruses reproduce by “hijacking” your cells and reprogramming them to make copies of the virus. This reprogramming also kills the cell and releases all the new viruses so they can spread and infect other cells.
Another difference between bacteria and viruses is that viruses need a living host to survive. Bacteria are self-sufficient with all the components of a typical cell, so they can eat, make energy and reproduce all by themselves. In contrast, viruses cannot live without a living host. Viruses are totally dependent on a host cell to survive and reproduce.
The most important difference between bacterial versus viral infections is how they are treated. Bacteria can be treated using antibiotics but viruses are unaffected by these drugs. Because viruses and bacteria can cause similar symptoms, antibiotics are commonly prescribed for viral infections for which they are totally ineffective.
If you have the symptoms of an infection, it’s reassuring to leave your doctor’s office with a prescription in hand. But all too often, that prescription will be ineffective and could cause other health problems.
The overuse and mis-prescribing of antibiotics for colds, flu and other viruses has led to the increasing problem of antibiotic resistance. Because of this, if you ever get a bacterial infection in the future, the bacteria may be resistant to the antibiotics you take. Unneeded antibiotics can also weaken your immune system, cause negative side effects and lengthen your recovery time.
Microbiologist and Natural Health Expert