Abstract

Background and aim: Health care workers’ risk of occupational exposure to HBV is a chief concern, particularly with young students in the health profession.

This study was carried out to assess the knowledge regarding symptoms, risk factors and prevention of hepatitis B virus infection among medical students.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out from November 01, 2016 to May 30, 2017 on medical students at the Northern Border University (Arar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia). Data were collected from 200 students from all academic years using pre-designed questionnaire which included questions designed to fulfill the study objectives.

Results: Regarding students’ knowledge about hepatitis B infection, 81% of them knew that carriers could transmit infection, 89.5% of them knew that it could not be spread by casual contact, 80% by contact with open wound, 96.5% by contaminated blood and body fluids, 92.5% by unsterilized syringe, needle and surgical instruments and 79.5% by unsafe sex. In total, 86.5% of students knew that a vaccine could prevent HBV infection, 95% knew it had been laboratory tested, 64% knew HBV had post exposure prophylaxis and only 55% knew that it could be cured. In all, 75.5% of students knew that HBV caused liver cancer. Regarding attitude, 23% of students said they had no concern of being infected with HBV, 86.5% agreed that HBV vaccine was safe and effective and 90% believed that following infection, control guidelines would protect them from being infected by HBV at work. Regarding practice, only 56.5% of students had screened for HBV infection 22% had had a needle prick injury but 68% would report that injury. Furthermore, 69.5% have received HBV vaccine but only 38% of them had received 3 doses. 

Conclusion: The students' knowledge of the hepatitis B virus was found to be good. We recommend improving knowledge, attitude and practice of the public as well as students, through health education campaigns and settings.

 

Keywords: Knowledge; Hepatitis B; Medical student; Northern Border University; Arar; Saudi Arabia
 
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