Bacteria vs. Virus
Bacteria and viruses are different types of pathogens, organisms that can cause disease. Bacteria are larger than viruses and are capable of reproducing on their own. Viruses are much smaller than bacteria and cannot reproduce on their own. Instead, viruses reproduce by infecting a host and using the host's DNA repair and replication systems to make copies of itself.
The symptoms of a bacterial or viral infection depend on the area of the body that is affected. Sometimes the symptoms of the two can be very similar. For example, runny nose, cough, headache, and fatigue can occur with the common cold (virus) and with a sinus infection (bacteria). A doctor may use the presence of other symptoms (such as fever or body aches), the length of the illness, and certain lab tests to determine if an illness is due to a virus, bacteria, or some other pathogen or disease process.