Knowledge of dental academics about the COVID-19 pandemic: a multi-country online survey
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Background: COVID-19 is a global pandemic affecting all aspects of life in all countries. We assessed COVID-19 knowledge and associated factors among dental academics in 26 countries. Methods: We invited dental academics to participate in a cross-sectional, multi-country, online survey from March to April 2020. The survey collected data on knowledge of COVID-19 regarding the mode of transmission, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, protection, and dental treatment precautions as well as participants’ background variables. Multilevel linear models were used to assess the association between dental academics’ knowledge of COVID-19 and individual level (personal and professional) and country-level (number of COVID-19 cases/ million population) factors accounting for random variation among countries. Results: Two thousand forty-five academics participated in the survey (response rate 14.3%, with 54.7% female and 67% younger than 46 years of age). The mean (SD) knowledge percent score was 73.2 (11.2) %, and the score of knowledge of symptoms was significantly lower than the score of knowledge of diagnostic methods (53.1 and 85.4%, P < 0.0001). Knowledge score was significantly higher among those living with a partner/spouse than among those living alone (regression coefficient (B) = 0.48); higher among those with PhD degrees than among those with Bachelor of Dental Science degrees (B = 0.48); higher among those seeing 21 to 30 patients daily than among those seeing no patients (B = 0.65); and higher among those from countries with a higher number of COVID-19 cases/million population (B = 0.0007). Conclusions: Dental academics had poorer knowledge of COVID-19 symptoms than of COVID-19 diagnostic methods. Living arrangements, academic degrees, patient load, and magnitude of the epidemic in the country were associated with COVD-19 knowledge among dental academics. Training of dental academics on COVID-19 can be designed using these findings to recruit those with the greatest need.