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Letter: Virus vs bacteria

Sir: Shortly after hearing a BBC newsreader refer to the E.coli 0157 outbreak in Dawlish Warren in Devon as being due to a virus, I opened The Independent to read about a "particularly virulent C-strain of the virus" causing meningitis in Ironville, Derbyshire ("Another boy dies in UK's meningitis capital", 17 August). Both of these infections are caused by bacteria.

Bacteria and viruses are very different. Apart from the size - like comparing a bicycle with a bus - bacteria will respond to suitable antibiotic therapy as long as the infection is treated early enough; viruses will not. There seems to be a belief that all nasty diseases are caused by viruses. Although many of them are, bacteria also continue to cause significant problems and should be recognized accordingly.


Crewe, Cheshire