ALMOST one in three carriers of the hepatitis B virus, which can cause potentially deadly liver diseases, has never sought treatment, a survey has found. And 70 per cent of those questioned were unclear about the fact that it was an infectious disease. Doctors said the findings were alarming because about 10 per cent of the population were hepatitis B carriers. Dr Chan Kin-ling, chairman of the public education committee of the Hong Kong College of Family Physicians, said: 'Those carriers who do not seek treatment may develop serious liver complications like cirrhosis and even liver cancer. 'This study shows that the general public in Hong Kong is ignorant and unconcerned about hepatitis B.' He called for more hepatitis B awareness programmes to educate the public. The survey, carried out by Isis Research in November, questioned 375 men and 375 women over the age of 18. The college added: 'The findings are alarming as the study shows that 70 per cent of the respondents had a low awareness level that hepatitis is an infectious disease. 'More surprising was that 30 per cent who were hepatitis B carriers never sought treatment.' The study also showed that just over a quarter wrongly thought they could catch hepatitis B through unclean food and seafood. Those two routes of transmission occur in hepatitis A, not hepatitis B. The college said only 25 per cent of respondents had correctly identified that hepatitis B could be contracted through blood transfusions and only 10 per cent knew it could be contracted through sex. It said up to 25 per cent of the 350 million people around the world who were hepatitis B carriers would die of liver disease complications.