Knowledge of Undergraduate Dental Students in Riyadh about Infection Control and Precautions against Covid-19: A Cross-Sectional Study

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Mahesh Shenoy, Ahmed Alsuliman, Abdulaziz Alkhudair, Eyas Almegrin, Fahad Alkridees, Alhassan Ali


Introduction: It is the responsibility of dentists to maintain a protocol preventing or reducing the spread of infection in dental clinics for their patients, their staff, and dentists themselves. This can be done by following the recommended infection control work practice procedures.

Materials and methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 310 undergraduate dental students in Riyadh by using an online survey during October 2020 to December 2020.  All dental universities in Riyadh were contacted and students from clinical levels were requested to fill up the survey forms. All the research proposals were submitted, and ethical clearance was obtained from the institutional ethical review board.  An online written consent was obtained from all study participants and their contribution was completely voluntary. A structured, closed-ended, and self-administered questionnaire consisting of 22 items was developed after reviewing published literature and the guidelines issued by the Centre for Disease Control and health ministry, Saudi Arabia, towards COVID-19. A Shapirowilk’s test (p<0.05) and visual examination of the histograms indicated the non-normal distribution of the data. Descriptive statistics on frequency distribution and percentages have been determined for categorical variables. Mean, median and interquartile ranges and mean ranks were calculated for continuous variables (knowledge, awareness, and attitude). Non-parametric tests and Mann–Whitney U were used to compare the mean ranks between gender, nationality, and marital status. Whereas the Kruskal–Wallis test was used to compare mean ranks between different experiences, health sector, and qualification categories of study participants. Bivariate and multivariable analysis were performed for the factors associated with knowledge, attitude, and practice. All data were analyzed using IBM-SPSS (version 25 Armonk, NY: USA). A value of p<0.05 was considered to be significant for all statistical tests.

Results: A total of 310 dental students from various universities participated in this study, of which 65% were males and 35% were females. The majority of them were from Riyadh Elm University (69%), followed by King Saud University (19.4%) and others. As far as their dentistry years were concerned, 17.2% were from the 4th year, 39.8% from the 5th, and 43% from the 6th year.

Conclusion: There is a need to improve the levels of knowledge among the dental students of Riyadh regarding infection control measures and background knowledge of COVID-19 as there are some misconceptions.

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