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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 200-204

Knowledge and practices related to Hepatitis B infection among dental and oral hygiene students at a university in Pretoria

1 Department of Community Dentistry, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
2 Department of Oral Pathology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Thomas Khomotjo Madiba
Department of Community Dentistry, University of Pretoria, Corner Bophelo and Dr Savage Road, Pretoria 0001
South Africa
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jispcd.JISPCD_31_18

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Aims and Objectives: The aim of the study was to determine the knowledge and practices of dental and oral hygiene (OH) students related to the transmission and prevention of the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Methods: A cross-sectional analytical design was used and all dental and OH students registered at a university in Pretoria in 2017 were asked to participate. Students were classified as either clinical (senior students who were treating patients) or nonclinical (junior students who had not yet started treating patients) depending on their year of study. A pretested, self-administered questionnaire consisting of 16 closed-ended and 4 open-ended questions relating to the students' knowledge and practice concerning HBV infection was used. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 23. All data were confidential and anonymity was ensured. Results: A total of 292 (78%) students agreed to participate, and of these, 70% were female. The average age was 21.78 years (±2.7) and almost two-thirds (61%) were classified as clinical students. A significant number of nonclinical students reported that the HBV could be transmitted through saliva (P < 0.01), through shaking hands (P < 0.01) and from sharing a toothbrush (P = 0.02) with an infected person. Clinical students correctly reported that HBV could be spread during the birth process from mother to child (P = 0.03). A significant number of nonclinical students stated that they would use antibiotics to prevent the spread of HBV infection (P < 0.01). The majority of respondents (94%) stated that vaccinations should be taken to prevent infection with HBV and >90% of students reported having completed the vaccination schedule. Conclusion: Although both the knowledge on the virus and the modes of transmission were very good, more than half did not know that HBV infection can be transmitted through piercing and more than half of the nonclinical students wrongly reported that antibiotics can be used to prevent infection after exposure. The vast majority were vaccinated against HBV.

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