EVALUATING INFECTION CONTROL PRACTICES AMONG DENTISTS IN VÂLCEA, ROMANIA, IN 1998

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES

To evaluate infection control knowledge and practices, provide training on universal–standard precautions (USP), and improve infection control knowledge and practices among dentists.

SETTING

Private and public dental offices in Vâlcea, Romania.

METHODS

Information about the use of hepatitis B vaccine, knowledge of and training in USP, perceived risks of disease transmission, and infection control practices was gathered from a sample of dentists through interviews, direct observations, and a survey administered during a training session.

RESULTS

Interviews among dentists and direct observations of infection control practices revealed that resources were often scarce in public clinics; however, availability of supplies in private or public clinics often did not correlate with adherence to proper infection control. Of 125 registered dentists, 46 (37%) attended the session and completed the survey. Of these, 75% worked in public clinics, 40% in private practices, and a few in both. More than 50% believed that the prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) was low in their patients compared with the Romanian population. Only 26% of dentists had received hepatitis B vaccine. Dentists reported a mean of six percutaneous injuries a year. Most (89%) reported that gloves were effective in preventing HBV transmission; 24% wore them for every patient. Most used dry heat sterilization; however, chemical disinfectants were also used.

CONCLUSIONS

Resources were limited, receipt of hepatitis vaccine was low, and infection control knowledge and practices varied. Training and education are needed regarding the importance of USP, hepatitis B vaccination, and alternative practices when resources are insufficient

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