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Question: The most common bacterium is E. coli.
Answer: Scientists believe that E. coli is the most common bacteria, with about a hundred billion billion of them alive at any given time.
Question: A virus can live independently of a host.
Answer: A virus, unlike a bacterium, cannot survive without a host. A virus is a parasite that needs to infect the host’s cells to reproduce.
Question: Diabetes can be brought on by poor diet.
Answer: The chance of getting diabetes may be passed down from one generation to the next. Being overweight and not exercising, however, seem to increase a person’s risk of developing diabetes.
Question: Diseases now on Earth are very recent.
Answer: Many diseases are quite ancient. Leprosy, for example, appears to have developed in South Asia more than 4,000 years ago, while many kinds of flea-borne plague have been around for millennia.
Question: All bacteria cause disease.
Answer: Some bacteria do cause disease, but many are beneficial and are even necessary for our survival.
Question: Epstein-Barr virus is very rare.
Answer: Epstein-Barr virus is very common. In the United States, almost all adults have been infected by it, usually with no symptoms.
Question: Viruses can fight cancer.
Answer: Viruses can be used to fight cancers of various kinds. Most treatments of this type are experimental.
Question: Diabetes is a condition having to do with blood sugar.
Answer: Diabetes is characterized by high levels of glucose, or sugar. A hormone called insulin normally controls the level of glucose in the blood.
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