Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Italy: knowledge, management of patients and clinical experience of Italian dentists during the spread of contagion

BMC Oral Health | Research article | 10 July, 2020
Authors: Alessandra Putrino,Mario Raso, Cosimo Magazzino & Gabriella Galluccio

Background The coronavirus infection that emerged in China in the last few months of 2019 has now spread globally. Italy registered its first case in the second half of February, and in a short time period, it became the top country in Europe in terms of the number of infected people and the first in the world in terms of deaths. The medical and scientific community has been called upon to manage the emergency and to take measures. Dentists also need to take new precautions during their clinical activity to protect themselves, coworkers and patients from the risks of contagion and to avoid further spread of infection.

Methods Following the data published in the international literature as well as the guidelines and directives constantly updated by the WHO and by the national health authorities, a questionnaire to be completed anonymously was submitted online to Italian dentists using social tools and online professional platforms. The collected data were processed statistically, providing descriptive data and analysis of correlations of the most significant parameters using the Pearson’s χ2, the Likelihood-Ratio χ2, Cramér’s V, Fisher’s exact test, Goodman and Kruskal’s γ, and Kendall’s τb (p < 0.05).
Results A total of 535 dentists from Italy participated in the survey. A good level of scientific knowledge about coronavirus and the extra precautionary measures needed to limit the spread was related to the age of respondents and their sex. Coming from areas with higher concentrations of cases affected knowledge, level of attention and perception of risk related to dental activity.
Conclusions At the moment, there are no therapies or vaccines to contain the infection with the new coronavirus that is causing many infections, many of which are fatal, worldwide. Dentists are one of the categories at highest risk of encountering diseases and infections because they work in close proximity with patients, and in their procedures, there is always contact with aerosols with high bacterial and viral potential. Therefore, during this COVID-19 emergency, it is important that dentists are properly informed and take the appropriate precautionary measures.
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