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2014; Vol.3,No.1 January -March
ISSN 2319 – 4154

Original Articles

Awareness on infection control procedures among dental students in a dental school in South Kerala

Benley George, Carel Brigi, Vinod Mathew Mulamoottil, Sunu Alice Cherian
Department of Public Health Dentistry, Pushpagiri College of Dental Sciences, Medicity, Perumthuruthy, Tiruvalla 689107, Kerala
Correspondence to: georgebenley@yahoo.co.in

  • Abstract

    Background: Dental care providers in particular are at an increased risk as they provide care working with sharp instruments at very high speeds and limited access in an environment that is bathed in saliva and, in many instances, blood. Dental care professionals are at high risk of cross-infection while treating patients. Although several recommendations and guidelines are issued by medical and dental societies as well as governmental organizations, studies demonstrate that infection is not well-controlled in the dental settings and hospitals. The current study aims to determine the level of knowledge in infection control procedures among dental students in a dental school in south Kerala.

    Methods: A questionnaire was designed to obtain information about infection control practices in dentistry among dental students. The sample (n=121) comprised of 30 third year students, 55 final year students and 36 interns. Questionnaire data was entered into a computer and analyzed by SPSS software.

    Results: A total of 121 students participated in the present study. Out of the total study subjects 30(24.8%) were third BDS students, 55(45.5%) were final BDS students and 36(29.8%) were interns. Ninety-one percent of the study subjects knew that universal cross infection control measures should be taken for all patients. Only 48.7% of the study subjects knew both mechanical device and scoop technique could be used for needle recapping during clinical procedures.

    Conclusion: Students should be communicated the associated risks and importance of transmission of infectious diseases and exposures during dental treatments. Dental schools should focus on constantly motivating students in the correct and routine use of infection control measures and strictly monitor the adherence to the guidelines.

    Introduction

    Health care workers in general are susceptible to contracting infectious diseases while providing patient care if they do not use proper infection control procedures. Dental care providers in particular are at an increased risk as they provide care working with sharp instruments at very high speeds and limited access in an environment that is bathed in saliva and, in many instances, blood. Dental care professionals are at high risk of cross-infection while treating patients. This occupational potential for disease transmission becomes evident when it is considered that most human microbial pathogens have been isolated from oral secretion.1,2 In addition, a majority of carriers of infectious diseases cannot be easily identified.3,4 Research has shown that infective hazards are present in dental practice because many infections can be transmitted by blood or saliva via direct or indirect contact, droplets, aerosols, or contaminated instruments and equipment4. For this reason, since the end of the 1980s, many surveys have been carried out in several countries, especially in North America and Europe, to investigate practices to control infection and compliance with universal precautions in dental surgeries.5-11

    Although several recommendations and guidelines are issued by medical and dental societies as well as governmental organizations, studies demonstrate that infection is not well-controlled in the dental settings and hospitals.12 The results of previous studies indicate inappropriate knowledge, attitude, and practice regarding proper measures of infection control among dentists.13-15 This study aims to determine the knowledge pertaining to infection control among dental students in a dental school in South Kerala, India.

    Materials and methods

    A questionnaire was designed to obtain information about infection control practices in dentistry among dental students. The study population comprised of clinical dental students from a dental school in Tiruvalla, South Kerala. A total of 121 clinical students were present in the dental school. All the students voluntarily participated in the survey. The survey was conducted in July 2012. The questionnaire collected data on knowledge pertaining to infection control procedures, sterilization, disinfection of instruments, occupational hazards and immunization, etc. The self administered questionnaire was distributed among third year, final year BDS students and interns. The questionnaire was distributed among the three categories of clinical students in three different classrooms and collected after half an hour. The sample (n=121) comprised of 30 third year students, 55 final year students and 36 interns. The questionnaire was pretested in a group of students and validated. Each correct response was provided a score of one. The mean score was calculated gender wise and based on the year of study and comparisons were drawn.

  • Statistical analysis

    Questionnaire data was entered into Microsoft Excel 2007 sheet and analyzed. t-test and ANOVA test were used to test the statistical significance. The level of significance was set at p<0.05 for all statistical tests.

    Results

    A total of 121 students participated in the present study. Out of the total study subjects 30(24.8%) were third BDS students, 55(45.5%) were final BDS students and 36(29.8%) were interns (Table 1). In the present study, 23(19%) of the study subjects were males and 98(81%) of the study subjects were females (Table 2).

    Table 1. Distribution of the study subjects by year of study

    Year of Study  N %
    III BDS 30 24.8
    IV BDS 55 45.5
    Interns 36 29.8
    Total 121 100

     

  • Table 2. Distribution of the study subjects by gender

    Gender N %
    Male 23 19
    Female 98 81
    Total 121 100

    Ninety-one percent of the study subjects knew that universal cross infection control measures should be taken for all patients. Only 48.7% of the study subjects knew both mechanical devise and scoop technique could be used for needle recapping during clinical procedures. Similarly only 47.9% of the students were aware of the correct sequence of putting on protective barriers. Around 33% of the participants knew that face shield is not a good substitute for mask. A greater proportion (90.9%) of the participants possessed knowledge on the cross infection control measures which should be adopted by dental professionals. Seventy nine percent of the participants knew the proper immunization schedule for hepatitis B vaccination (Table 3).

    Table 3. Distribution of study subjects based on correct responses provided

    Questions

     

    Correct Response

     

    N

    %

    Universal infection control measures are taken for

    121

    90.9

    Sterilization of instruments in an autoclave would be achieved at

    114

    94.2

    Needle recapping is done using

    59

    48.7

    Handpiece belong to which category of instruments

    96

    79.3

    Order of wearing protective barriers

    58

    47.9

    First step to be done after accidental needle exposure from a HIV positive patient

    73

    60.3

    Masks should be replaced

    61

    50.4

    Antibody protection level against Hepatitis B for a dentist

    62

    51.2

    Is face shield a good substitute for mask

    41

    33.8

    Disinfectant effective in removing dried blood on a surface

    12

    9.9

    Duration for disinfection of dental impressions

    78

    64.4

    Cross infection control measures to be adopted by all dental professionals

    110

    90.9

    Does hand washing minimize infection risk secondary to leakage

    88

    72.7

    Immunization schedule for hepatitis B vaccination

    96

    79.3

    How often is biological monitoring of autoclave sterilization done

    70

    57.8

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