Good Bacteria and Humans
Country: United States
Date: January 2006
Can the good bacteria in us reproduce into bad
bacteria? Or, can it be a host to a harmful to humans virus?
Any type of bacteria can be a problem and cause disease.
Any bacteria can become harmful if the host's immune system is damaged
or weak. Sometimes good bacteria pick up genes from other bacteria
through the process of conjugation. If these genes are for functions
that are harmful they can become "bad".
I don't know of a mechanism by which symbiotic bacteria could mutate
to become harmful to their host. Bacteria cannot be the host for human
viruses. Human viruses can only multiply in human or certain other
animal cells. The only viruses that can multiply in bacterial cells
are called bacteriophage and they are harmless to humans because they
can't infect human cells.
Ron Baker, Ph.D.
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Update: June 2012