Knowledge, attitudes and practice of dentists concerning the occupational risks of hepatitis B virus in Al Jouf Province, Saudi Arabia
Introduction: Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a well‑recognized occupational risk for all health care workers (HCWs) worldwide. In Saudi Arabia, very little is known about knowledge, attitudes, and practice of dentists toward occupational risk of HBV. Our study was conducted to assess the same parameters.
Methods: During February 2012, a cross‑sectional survey of 48 dentists with mean age 38 ± 11.2 years was carried out at the primary health care centers in Al Jouf Province of Saudi Arabia. The dentists were asked to fill a valid questionnaire containing their socio‑demographic data, and well‑designed questions about their knowledge base, attitudes and practice toward occupational risk of HBV. The data were processed and analyzed using the SPSS (version 17) (IBM SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA) program and the level of significance were set at P < 0.05.
Results: Response rate of 85.4% yielded 41 questionnaires for analysis. Majority of the dentists surveyed 34 (82.9%) perceived that they are at high risk of contracting and spreading HBV, and 28 (68.3%) had a concern to get HBV. More than half 23 (56.1%) were willing to achieve continuity of care for HBsAg‑positive patients. The vast majority 39 (95.1%) believed that HBV vaccine is safe, and 34 (82.9%) were vaccinated. Less than half 17 (41.5%) recognized that HBV is resistant to alcohol and some detergents. During surgical procedures, only 14 (34.1%) always use double gloves and 19 (46.3%) always use goggles. Almost all dentists surveyed were willing to subscribe in a regular training programs about HBV.
Conclusion: More education focusing on occupational risk of HBV is recommended for dentists.
Key words: Attitude, continuity of care, hepatitis B virus, knowledge, Saudi Arabia