Purpose: To explore the public perception of cross-infection prevention methods and their role in disease transmission, among patients attending Jordan University Hospital.
Materials and Methods: A systemic random sample of 310 dental patients with a mean (SD) age of 35.1 (14.80) years was selected (42.6% males and 57.4% female). Patients were interviewed prior to dental appointments by a specially trained and calibrated dentist. Responses of the patients were recorded in the structured questionnaire, maintaining their privacy and confidentiality. The data were entered into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and analysed using the SPSS statistical package to obtain the prevalence rates of patients’ perceptions, which were then cross tabulated with gender, age and other variables. Significant differences were determined using the chi-square test, when appropriate.
Results: Of the respondents, 83.5% found it necessary for the dentist to wear gloves, and 65.8% stated the reason was to prevent cross infection from one patient to another. About three-quarters (74.8%) found it necessary for the dentist to wear a mask; when asked about the reason, 52.3% stated prevention of cross infection from dentist to patient. Regarding wearing protective glasses, about three-quarters (73.9%) found it unnecessary for the dentist to do so. The majority (76.8%) stated the method of HIV transmission was by dentists using needles previously used for patients infected with AIDS; 71% knew there is no vaccine against HIV. Only half (49%) reported that hepatitis could be transmitted by blood transfusion. Approximately two-thirds (67.4%) knew there is a vaccine against hepatitis. About 53.5% claimed their knowledge regarding infection transmission was obtained through watching television programmes about cross infection.
Conclusion: Dental patients in Jordan need to be equipped with adequate knowledge about cross-infection control, thus education reinforcement is imperative.
Keywords: cross-infection control, dentists, gloves, hepatitis, HIV, Jordan, public perception