Evaluation of preparedness of healthcare student volunteers against Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in Makkah, Saudi Arabia: a cross-sectional study

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Aim To assess the knowledge and attitude of senior medical, dental, nursing and pharmacy students toward Middle East respiratory syndrome-corona virus (MERS-CoV) in Saudi Arabia. Subjects and methods A cross-sectional survey using a 21-item questionnaire was conducted for a 3-month period from November 2015–January 2016 in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. The questionnaire was designed to evaluate students’ understanding and perception of MERS-CoV. An ANOVA test was used to determine the association of study discipline and academic year with the student knowledge score on MERS. Results A total of 364 students were assessed during the study. The majority (62%) of the participants were in the 20–22-year age group. More than half (53%) were pharmacy students followed by (22%) medical students. More than two thirds (71%) of the participants were aware that MERS is caused by the coronavirus. More than half (59%) of the participants believed that MERS can be transmitted through direct or indirect contact with infected camels. A statistically significant association was reported between the study discipline and mean knowledge score (p < 0.0001) with medical students achieving an overall better knowledge score compared with students from other study disciplines. Conclusion Overall, students had good knowledge about MERS epidemiology, transmission and the recommended protective measures. However, students expressed their reluctance to work in healthcare facilities with inadequate MERS infection control isolation policies.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)607-612
JournalJournal of Public Health
Issue number6
Early online date14 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018