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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 10  |  Page : 461-467

Monkeypox awareness, knowledge, and attitude among undergraduate preclinical and clinical students at a Malaysian dental school: An emerging outbreak during the COVID-19 era


1 Department of Dental Materials, Faculty of Dentistry, Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology (AIMST) University, 08100, Bedong, Kedah, Malaysia
2 Department of Dental Public Health, Faculty of Dentistry, Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology (AIMST) University, 08100, Bedong, Kedah, Malaysia
3 Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre, 56000, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Correspondence Address:
Galvin Sim Siang Lin
Department of Dental Materials, Faculty of Dentistry, Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology (AIMST) University, 08100, Bedong, Kedah
Malaysia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1995-7645.359787

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Objective: To evaluate the awareness, knowledge, and attitude on monkeypox viral infection among preclinical and clinical dental students in Malaysia. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 229 preclinical and clinical dental students via an online self-reported questionnaire. The questionnaire included 3 items on awareness, 15 items on knowledge, 9 items on attitude and 2 open-ended questions. Data were presented as frequencies and percentages. Chi-square test was used to compare knowledge and awareness scores between preclinical and clinical dental students and content analysis was performed for open-ended responses. Results: Preclinical and clinical dental students were aware of the existence of monkeypox (89.5% and 94.4%, respectively), that the disease emerged in non-endemic countries (81.0% and 87.1%, respectively) and that it was declared a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization (73.3% and 79.0%, respectively). Clinical dental students’ overall knowledge level was significantly higher than preclinical dental students (P=0.014). Both preclinical (95.2%) and clinical (96.8%) dental students demonstrated positive attitudes toward monkeypox with no significant difference (P=0.736) noted between them. Three themes emerged from the open-ended questions: (1) reimplementation of nationwide lockdown, (2) impact on the economy and health, and (3) disruption to the educational system. Students also anticipated their face-to-face learning to be reduced should there be a new outbreak. Conclusions: Both preclinical and clinical dental students showed comparable awareness and attitudes, while the latter demonstrated greater satisfactory knowledge toward the re-emergence of monkeypox during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, efforts to improve dental students’ understanding of this alarming outbreak are required, to safeguard their health and minimise transmission.


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