RESEARCH ARTICLE


Knowledge, Perceptions, and Attitudes Regarding COVID-19 and Infection Control Measures Against it among Dental Students in Saudi Arabia



Tahani M. Alharbi1, *, Afrah M. Alharbi1, Rafal K. Khayyat1, Jawaher B. Aldaadi1, Ibtesam K. Afifi2
1 Faculty of Dentistry, Umm Al-Qura University, Makkah, Saudi Arabia
2 Faculty of Medicine, Tanta University, Egypt & Faculty of Dentistry, Umm Al-Qura University, Makkah, Saudi Arabia


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Creative Commons License
© 2021 Alharbi et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Faculty of Dentistry, Umm Al-Qura University, Makkah, Saudi Arabia;
Tel: +966548669005; E-mail: tahani_alharbi97@hotmail.com


Abstract

Background

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a highly infectious disease caused by an RNA virus named SARS CoV2. The increased risk of infection by this virus among dental students necessitates updated knowledge and highlights their important role in preventing and controlling its transmission.

Objective:

This study aims to assess knowledge, perceptions, and attitudes regarding COVID-19 and infection control measures among dental students in Saudi Arabia.

Methods:

A cross-sectional study was conducted among dental students in different Saudi universities using an online self-administered questionnaire. It gathered data on students’ demographic information, knowledge of COVID-19 and infection control measures, risk perception and attitudes toward the disease, and their preparedness for treating infected patients.

Results:

A total of 327 dental students responded to the questionnaire. Of these students, 92.4% had received training in infection control in dental practice, but only 24.2% had attended training regarding COVID-19. The majority of students had adequate knowledge regarding the modes of transmission and the common symptoms of COVID-19, with statistically significant total mean knowledge scores among students in different academic years (p<0.05). A large percentage of the students (92.7%) agreed that the use of rubber dams or high-volume saliva ejectors could reduce the possibility of transmitting infection. However, 58.4% of the students disagreed that intraoral dental radiographs should be avoided to reduce the possibility of transmitting infection.

Conclusion:

Although knowledge of and risk perception concerning COVID-19 among students is good, additional training sessions integrating recent international guidelines for infection control are required to update their knowledge and achieve safe dental practice.

Keywords: COVID-19, Knowledge, Perception, Attitude, Infection control, Dental students.