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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 193-196

Awareness on bioterrorism among dental graduates in Northern India


1 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, SGT University, Gurugram, Haryana, India
2 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Sri Ramakrishna Dental College and Hospital, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India
3 Department of Orthodontics, Rayat Bahra Dental College, SAS Nagar, Punjab, India
4 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Swami Devi Dyal Hospital and Dental College, Panchkula, Haryana, India

Date of Submission20-May-2020
Date of Decision03-Jul-2020
Date of Acceptance11-Jul-2020
Date of Web Publication30-Nov-2020

Correspondence Address:
Ajay Kumar
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Swami Devi Dyal Hospital and Dental College, Panchkula, Haryana
India
Sunil Kumar Gulia
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, SGT University, Gurugram, Badli, Jhajjar, Haryana
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jdrr.jdrr_44_20

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  Abstract 


Aim: This study is intended to evaluate the knowledge and awareness among dental graduates on bioterrorism. Materials and Methods: This study was conducted using a cross-sectional survey. Self-administered questionnaire survey was used to evaluate the knowledge and awareness among dental graduates pertaining to bioterrorism. In this regard, a questionnaire study was conducted with a convenience sample of 172 dental graduates studying in various institutions in Northern India. This study, while limited in sample size, benefits the general practitioners as target readers to assess the knowledge and awareness among dental graduates on bioterrorism. Results: The results of this study show that 73.8% of the dental graduates who participated in the study were aware of the term bioterrorism. However, only 56.9% of dental graduates were only aware of the different biological agents that can be employed in bioterrorism. Only 61.6% of the participants were aware where to report a bioterrorism. Even though 92.4% of the participants felt that dentists can play an active role during bioterrorism, only 7% of the participants have attended an awareness program pertaining to bioterrorism. Conclusion: Dental graduates lacked knowledge pertaining to bioterrorism. Hence, the results of this study show that there is a need to educate dental graduates regarding bioterrorism through guest lectures or continued dental education.

Keywords: Bioterrorism, dental graduates, health care


How to cite this article:
Gulia SK, Khanna SS, Hussain FZ, Sharma R, Aggarwal K, Kumar A. Awareness on bioterrorism among dental graduates in Northern India. J Dent Res Rev 2020;7:193-6

How to cite this URL:
Gulia SK, Khanna SS, Hussain FZ, Sharma R, Aggarwal K, Kumar A. Awareness on bioterrorism among dental graduates in Northern India. J Dent Res Rev [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Jan 23];7:193-6. Available from: https://www.jdrr.org/text.asp?2020/7/4/193/302049




  Introduction Top


It is a well-known fact that bioterrorism is a strategic and intentional use of microorganisms or their toxins to extend life-threatening diseases on a mass scale to destroy humankind in a particular area.[1] The agents that are usually used in bioterrorism are found in nature, but alterations to them would result in their ability to cause disease make them resistant to medication.[2] The initial documented biological weapon was in the 6th century BC, where a fungus was used to cause convulsions upon ingestion by Assyrians poisoned enemy wells with rye ergot.[3] Later, bioterrorism was employed with the aid of fecal matter, animal carcasses, etc., to pollute water bodies, but then, now biological agents that are lethal even in small quantity such as dried spores and genetically modified organisms are employed.[2],[4]

Literature shows that the health-care system is not yet fully equipped to deal with a bioterrorist attack.[5] Prompt identification and immediate installation of the remedy is critical to prevent the spread of disease, thereby reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with bioterrorism. Therefore, it is necessary for health-care professionals to be aware of the different diseases and their systemic manifestations of the agents that cause bioterrorism.[6] Hence, this study is designed to evaluate the knowledge and awareness among dental graduates on bioterrorism.


  Materials and Methods Top


A cross-sectional survey was undertaken to evaluate the knowledge and awareness among dental graduates on bioterrorism. The study included 172 dental graduates studying in various institutions in Northern India. Initially, a questionnaire with ten questions was designed, but two were eliminated to obtain a content validity ratio of 1, and a pilot study was done for which a Cronbach's alpha of 0.9 was obtained. A self-administered questionnaire with eight questions was distributed through Google Forms to the E-mails of these dental graduates. The questionnaire was sent to nearly 200 dental graduates, but merely 172 responded in spite of repeated reminders. The participants were instructed to answer the questionnaire very precisely without any descriptions. The dental graduates were instructed to answer the questionnaire by using either the right or wrong options as shown in [Table 1]. Survey questions were aimed to the knowledge and awareness among dental graduates on bioterrorism in Southern India. The survey forms were assessed and critically evaluated.
Table 1: The questionnaire used in the study

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  Results Top


This study was conducted on 172 dental graduates to evaluate the knowledge and awareness among themselves on bioterrorism. Out of the 172 dental graduates, 45 were male and 127 were female belonging to the age group of 22–25 years with a mean age of 23.3 years. The results of this study are shown in [Table 2]. The results of this study show that 127 dental graduates (73.8%) were aware of the term bioterrorism as shown in [Figure 1]. However, only 98 dental graduates (56.9%) were aware of the different types of biological agents that can be employed in bioterrorism as shown in [Figure 2]. Only 106 dental graduates (61.6%) were aware where to report a bioterrorism as shown in [Figure 3] and only 113 dental graduates (65.6%) aware of the signs and symptoms of a bioterrorist attack as shown in [Figure 4].
Table 2: Results of the questionnaire against appropriate questions

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Figure 1: Graph depicting the awareness of the dental graduates to the term bioterrorism

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Figure 2: Graph depicting the awareness of the dental graduates pertaining different types of biological agents that can be employed in bioterrorism

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Figure 3: Graph depicting the awareness of the dental graduates pertaining where to report a bioterrorism

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Figure 4: Graph depicting the awareness of the dental graduates pertaining to the signs and symptoms of a bioterrorist attack

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Around 159 dental graduates (92.4%) felt that dentists can play an active role during bioterrorism and 156 dental graduates (90.6%) felt that these situations can be preventable. Nearly 168 dental graduates (97.6%) felt that there is definitely a need to educate the general public pertaining to bioterrorism as shown in [Figure 5]. Nearly 160 dental graduates (93.0%) never attended a CDE/lecture on bioterrorism as shown in [Figure 6].
Figure 5: Graph depicting the need to educate the general public pertaining to bioterrorism

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Figure 6: Graph depicting whether dental graduates have ever attended a CDE/lecture on bioterrorism?

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  Discussion Top


It is a well-known fact that dental professionals like other health-care professionals would perform a critical role in guarding their patients and their public in addition to protecting themselves by delivering consistent and scientifically correct information during a biological emergency.[3] Since they have a basic knowledge medicine along with their specified proficiency in diseases pertaining to the orofacial region, they can serve as sentinels in the initial screening of a disease outbreak. Hence, it is essential to evaluate the dental graduate's knowledge and awareness pertaining bioterrorism.[7],[8]

The results of this study reveal that nearly 127 dental graduates (73.8%) were aware of the term bioterrorism. This is in accordance with previous studies.[9] A study conducted by Katz et al. revealed that 64% of dentists were aware of the pathogens employed in bioterrorism.[8] However, the results of this study reveal that only 98 dental graduates (56.9%) were aware of the different types of biological agents that can be employed in bioterrorism.

The results of this study show that only 106 dental graduates (61.6%) were aware where to report a bioterrorism and only 113 dental graduates (65.6%) aware of the signs and symptoms of a bioterrorist attack. These results disclose that there exists an incredible lack of knowledge and awareness among dental surgeons pertaining to bioterrorism. These results are in harmony with previous studies.[9] A similar study conducted by Bhoopathi et al. found that there is a lack of awareness among dental professions in New England and Oregon.[10]

In addition to this, the results of this study reveal that nearly 160 dental graduates (93.0%) who participated in this study never attended a CDE/lecture on bioterrorism. The authors of this study feel that this could be the main reason for the lack of awareness and knowledge among dental graduates pertaining to bioterrorism.

About 159 dental graduates (92.4%) who participated in this study felt that dentists can play an active role during bioterrorism. This is in accordance with previous studies which advocated that dentists could provide their services in scrutiny, medical appointment, immunizations, and infection control.[8],[11],[12] A previous study advocated that dentists who are well trained in forensic odontology can work as a team member with the local Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Teams.[13] This is in contrast with few studies in which the participants felt that there is no great role for a dentist in bioterrorism and mass disaster management.[9]

Literature shows that health professionals who have adequate knowledge and training irrespective of their specialty would eagerly come forward to deliver their services than those who lack knowledge and training.[14],[15] Based on the reports of the previous studies, it can be concluded that adequate training and knowledge in bioterrorism is essential for dental graduates in order to make themselves capable to react to the tasks of a bioterrorist episode. Hence, the authors would like to propose that guest lectures or continued dental education programs on bioterrorism are the need of the hour. The authors would also like to suggest that awareness needs to be created among the general public and health-care professionals to have a backup of drugs and vaccines along with the distribution of funds and be prepared for challenges without panic. Small sample size and restricting the questionnaire to only the dental graduates of Northern India are the limitations of this study. More studies involving both medical and dental graduates with a larger sample size from all parts of the country are essential to evaluate the knowledge and awareness regarding bioterrorism along with raising cognizance.


  Conclusion Top


The results of this study reveal that the dental graduates lacked knowledge pertaining to bioterrorism. Hence, there is a definite need to educate dental graduates regarding bioterrorism through guest lectures or continued dental education.

Financial support and sponsorship

This was a self.funded study.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Syal S. Bioterrorism: Time to wake up. Curr Sci 2008;95:1665-6.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Pinto VN. Bioterrorism: Health sector alertness. J Nat Sci Biol Med 2013;4:24-8.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Flores S, Mills SE, Shackleford L. Dentistry and bioterrorism. Dent Clin N Am 2003;47:733-44.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Suryakantha AH, editor. Bioterrorism. In: Community Medicine (with resent advances). 1st ed., Ch. 58. New Delhi: Jaypee Publishers; 2009. p. 822-4.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Gerberding JL, Hughes JM, Koplan JP. Bioterrorism preparedness and response: Clinicians and public health agencies as essential partners. JAMA 2002;287:898-900.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
American Dental Association's 143rd Annual Session; 19 Oct 2002.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Scott TE, Bansal S, Mascarenhas AK. Willingness of New England dental professionals to provide assistance during a bioterrorism event. Biosecur Bioterror 2008;6:253-60.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Katz AR, Nekorchuk DM, Holck PS, Hendrickson LA, Imrie AA, Effler PV. Dentists' preparedness for responding to bioterrorism: A survey of Hawaii dentists. J Am Dent Assoc 2006;137:461-7.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Sridevi V, Vikram Simha B, Gayathri Naidu SS, Chowdary KH, Yaragani A, Sree YS. Awareness on bioterrorism among qualified dentists in a teaching dental institution in southern India. J NTR Univ Health Sci 2020;9:32-6.  Back to cited text no. 9
  [Full text]  
10.
Bhoopathi V, Mashabi SO, Scott TE, Mascarenhas AK. Dental professionals' knowledge and perceived need for education in bioterrorism preparedness. J Dent Educ 2010;74:1319-26.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Chaudhari A, Shetiya SH, Kakodkar P, Shirahatti R. Knowledge, attitude and practice regarding bioterrorism amongst the medical and dental interns in D. Y. Patil Deemed University – A questionnaire study. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent 2011;18:94-9.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
Bhargava D, et al. Bioterrorism My role as a dentist. J Indian Acad Forensic Med 2011;33:254.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.
Prakash N, Sharada P, Pradeep G. Bioterrorism: Challenges and considerations. J Forensic Dent Sci 2010;2:59-62.  Back to cited text no. 13
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
14.
Silverman S Jr, Kerr AR, Epstein JB. Oral and pharyngeal cancer control and early detection. J Cancer Educ 2010;25:279-81.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
15.
Ashe TE, Elter JR, Southerland JH, Strauss RP, Patton LL. North Carolina dental hygienists' oral cancer knowledge and opinions: Implications for education. J Cancer Educ 2006;21:151-6.  Back to cited text no. 15
    


    Figures

  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5], [Figure 6]
 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2]



 

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