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  1. #1
    Tan Elaine is offline Key Member
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    Default Difference in meaning between bacteria, virus and germs

    What is the difference in meaning between bacteria, virus and germs?

    I have referred to dictionaries and they seem to mean the same.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Difference in meaning between bacteria, virus and germs

    Quote Originally Posted by Tan Elaine View Post
    What is the difference in meaning between bacteria, virus and germs?

    I have referred to dictionaries and they seem to mean the same.

    Thanks.
    This is not really a language question, it's a medical/scientific question. They are all organisms that cause disease.

  3. #3
    Chicken Sandwich's Avatar
    Chicken Sandwich is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Difference in meaning between bacteria, virus and germs

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    This is not really a language question, it's a medical/scientific question. They are all organisms that cause disease.
    Viruses are usually not considered to be organisms.

    However, I agree that this is not a language question, so if Tan Elaine wants to know more about this subject matter, he/she should consult a science textbook or ask this question on a science message board.

  4. #4
    abaka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Difference in meaning between bacteria, virus and germs

    Although as Bhaisahab said there are strict medical differences between the terms "bacterium", "virus", and "germ", in common usage "germs" refers to any unseen cause of infection or illness.

    PS. As far as I can make out, a bacterium is a single-celled lifeform that reproduces by fusion, a virus is a sub-cellular "life"-form which replicates from genetic material within the nucleus of the cell it infects (it is a matter of debate whether it is alive or not), and a germ is the single cell or assembly of cells from which a multi-celled organism, such as a tree or a human being, grows.
    Last edited by abaka; 05-Jul-2012 at 18:44. Reason: added PS in the hope it might help, although agree with the above posts that specialist texts should be consulted.

  5. #5
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Difference in meaning between bacteria, virus and germs

    [QUOTE=Chicken Sandwich;899305]Viruses are usually not considered to be organisms.

    /QUOTE]

    OK, what are they considered to be? I'm not a scientist, so perhaps you can enlighten me.

  6. #6
    Chicken Sandwich's Avatar
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    Default Re: Difference in meaning between bacteria, virus and germs

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    OK, what are they considered to be? I'm not a scientist, so perhaps you can enlighten me.
    Viruses do not fit into the most accepted definition of a living organism because an isolated virus is not able to replicate its genes or regenerate its supply of ATP. The reason I said "usually", is because not everyone accepts this definition of an organism, though this is the most standard view that is taught in biology classes. Bacteria are organisms, but viruses are not. A virus is basically an infectious particle consisting of little more than genes packeged in a protein coat.

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