Learn About Viruses and Bacteria With a SEM Image
A computer virus is a self replicating computer program. A virus is simply an infected object that can multiply itself within an infected host organism without the aid of any outside biological elements. Viruses can infect many types of living things, such as plants, animals, and bacteria. They have a simple biological structure, so a microscopic microscope is required to see them.
What is it that causes a virus to replicate itself? The answer is complicated, but we have to keep it simple: the virus infects a living cell through the DNA of that cell being damaged. The damaged DNA allows the virus to duplicate and spread out into other cells of the body. This is the normal process called viral multiplication. The virus spreads through the human body via the blood, fluid, tissues, and organs.
A virus’ ability to spread out across the body depends on two things: the type of virus and the location of the infected host cell. For instance, the herpes virus has been known to replicate itself in the nerve cells (in the brain and neck) as well as in the genital area. The type of virus and location is important because it determines how quickly and how far the viral replication process takes place. Certain viruses, such as the cold virus, which does not replicate well in the hosts’ body, tend to be localized and tend to stay in one place, whereas others, like the AIDS virus, spreads over large areas.
The other major factor that determines how quickly a virus replicates is the genetic material of the virus. For instance, the hepatitis virus ( HCV) replicates rapidly, but the genetic material it contains is actually quite specific. That means that only a few people will get the infection each year. This makes the HCV difficult to track, even though the disease is still relatively widespread.
The viruses that tend to be localized and are easy to track include herpes and the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). However, the ability of certain viruses to infect other hosts also comes into play. For instance, HIV cannot easily infect other parts of the body; therefore, it typically stays in the exact same place in the human body. And while most people contract hepatitis B virus on the outside of their bodies, they can also contract the disease in their internal organs. Therefore, it’s very hard to trace where an individual got infected from. Also, the HIV virus cannot be transmitted through typical sexual intercourse, making it particularly hard to trace.
Interestingly enough, the majority of viruses and bacteria are more difficult to analyze with the naked eye than the diseases they cause. To illustrate this point, let’s take a look at the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. The bacterium can easily hide inside the joints, as it is not transmitted through regular hand-to-mouth contact like other pathogens can be. With this information in mind, it becomes clear that it’s smart to have as much information about the viruses and bacteria you are studying as possible, since being able to properly identify a particular virus can be crucial to your medical career.
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