(Redirected from Bacterium)
Bacteria (; common noun bacteria, singular bacterium) are a type of biological cell.
Bacteria are small single-celled organisms. Bacteria are found almost everywhere on Earth and are vital to the planet's ecosystems. Some species can live under extreme conditions of temperature and pressure. The human body is full of bacteria, and in fact is estimated to contain more bacterial cells than human cells. Most bacteria in the body are harmless, and some are even helpful. A relatively small number of species cause disease.
There are bacteria that are bad, that we call pathogenic, and they will cause diseases, but there's also good bacteria. As an example, in our digestive system, in the gut, we have bacteria that are very necessary to help our bodies function in a normal way. What's interesting about bacteria is that in our bodies we have 10 times more bacterial cells than we have human cells. Bacteria are also important in biotechnology. They are also important in that they, again, will help the body maintain itself in a healthy manner.
Various shapes and sizes
Bacteria are living things that have only one cell. Under a microscope, they look like balls, rods, or spirals. They are so small that a line of 1,000 could fit across a pencil eraser.
But infectious bacteria can make you ill. They reproduce quickly in your body. Many give off chemicals called toxins, which can damage tissue and make you sick. Examples of bacteria that cause infections include Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, and E. coli.
Antibiotics are the usual treatment. When you take antibiotics, follow the directions carefully. Each time you take antibiotics, you increase the chances that bacteria in your body will learn to resist them causing antibiotic resistance. Later, you could get or spread an infection that those antibiotics cannot cure.