Document Type: Original Article

Authors

1 Dept. of Dental Public Heath, School of Dentistry, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.

2 Dept. of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, School of Dentistry, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.

3 Undergraduate Student, School of Dentistry, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.

Abstract

Statement of the Problem: Exposure to patients’ blood and body fluids would prone the dental students to the risk of blood borne infections. Several studies have shown a high prevalence of these exposures in dental settings particularly in developing countries. However, few studies have evaluated the epidemiology of these exposures in dental students in Iran.Purpose: To assess the epidemiology of occupational exposures among dental students and consequently designing the appropriate interventions in order to prevent these exposures.Materials and Method: In this cross-sectional study performed during March to June 2011, all 191 Shiraz clinical dental students were asked to complete a self-administered questionnaire. This questionnaire included demographic information and experience of sharp injuries and mucocutaneous contaminations. Chi square and t-test were employed to evaluate the risk factors of exposure.Results: 80%of the participants were exposed to the patients’ blood or body fluids during their clinical course. No association was found between the exposure and demographic factors. Injection needle and recapping were the most common causes of these injuries. The most common sites that were injured and caused mucocutaneous contamination were finger and face, respectively. The most frequent activity causing contamination was using high-speed rotary instruments. Only 6.4% of the exposures had been reported to the related authorities and the remains were underreported.Conclusion: Blood and body fluid exposure in dental setting is common and a lot of them are not reported. To reduce the hazards of these exposures, infection control authorities should design interventions especially for mentioned high-risk conditions. They should change dental students’ behavior especially regarding not recapping injection needles and using eyewear. Dental schools seem to need a management center and a standard protocol for following up the exposures.