I want know the difference (particularly on meaning) between be infected by and become infected.

Here is my question sentences.

  1. Children can become infected through daily contact with their pets.

  2. Children can be infected by daily contact with their pets.

I think meaning of both sentences are same. Is there any difference? and if there is any difference, I want to know it.

  • 2
    none! Use can get infected by...
    – Maulik V
    May 24, 2018 at 7:59
  • @MaulikV you mean that I can also use "get infected by" which has same meaning with above two sentences? if so, these three sentences could be used as paraphrased sentences! am I right....?
    – Belle
    May 24, 2018 at 8:01
  • In my medical career, I have always wrote reports with get infected because you come in contact with microorganisms and thus you get infected by some external sources. Though there could be results of 'become infected,' I may not prefer it. I may compare that with I became a doctor! where you yourself become something! :) Just kidding!
    – Maulik V
    May 24, 2018 at 17:01

2 Answers 2


The process of acquiring infection can be described as:

  1. Become infected (This exact Google search site:gov "become infected" gives 35,600 results and site:edu "become infected" 59,100 results.)

  2. Get infected (This search site:gov "get infected" gives 13,600 results and site:edu "get infected" 12,500 results.)

"Be infected" is NOT used for acquiring but for having an infection.

I used "gov" and "edu" seraches because most results are from the largest online medical library pubmed.gov and university websites, which shows the actual usage of the terms in the medical world.


I don't think "become infected" is ever correct, not in your sentence at least.

be infected can be used but designates the long-term state of being infected, not the action where you start being infected. For that, you should use get infected.

You children might be infected if they got infected last week by their grandparents' pets.

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