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eISSN: 1643-3750

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Knowledge, experiences, and attitudes of medical students in Rome about tuberculosis

Patrizia Laurenti, Bruno Federico, Matteo Raponi, Giuseppe Furia, Walter Ricciardi, Gianfranco Damiani

(Institute of Hygiene and Public Health, Catholic University of Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy)

Med Sci Monit 2013; 19:865-874

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.889515


Background: Tuberculosis is the second leading cause of death from infectious disease. Insufficient knowledge among doctors about tuberculosis is one of the reasons for the increased tuberculosis rates in several low-endemic countries. The purpose of this study was to assess knowledge, experience, and attitude about tuberculosis among medical students.
Material and Methods: After a pilot study, a cross-sectional survey was performed on fifth-year medical students at the Catholic University of Rome (Italy), using a self-administered questionnaire on attitude, experience and knowledge about epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment of tuberculosis. The t test and multivariable linear regression analysis were performed to estimate the association between TB knowledge and investigated variables.
Results: Among 220 fifth-year medical students, the response rate was 83.1%. The mean percentage of correct answers was 56.6% (63.5% for epidemiology and prevention, 54.1% for diagnosis, and 45.7% for treatment). Associations between internships in wards and greater knowledge of tuberculosis diagnosis (55.9% vs. 51.6%, p=0.02), treatment (48.4% vs. 41.8%, p=0.03) and total score (58.1% vs. 54.5%, p=0.04) were found.
Students who reported receiving the Mantoux test had higher knowledge of tuberculosis epidemiology and prevention (65.4% vs. 53.3%, p=0.001), diagnosis (55.2% vs. 48.3%, p=0.005), and total score (58.0% vs. 49.1%, p=0.001). Students who had observed at least 1 active pulmonary tuberculosis case had a higher percentage of correct answers about diagnosis (55.5% vs. 51.4%, p=0.03) and total score (57.9% vs. 54.0%, p=0.03).
The multivariable linear regression confirmed the association between higher knowledge and receiving the Mantoux test (beta coefficient=7.2; 95% CI 2.6–11.7), as well as having observed at least 1 X-ray of a TB patient (beta coefficient=5.3; 95% CI 1.0–9.7).
Conclusions: A moderate level of general knowledge about tuberculosis was found, which suggests the need to modify current programs of infectious diseases in the curriculum of medical schools.

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