Congos epidemic of lung cancer now accounts for nearly the whole years excess deaths from the disease international figures show.

Health authorities reported 252 such deaths in the country in 2017 taking the total number of victims to 1000 since the disease was identified in the 1970s.

Most of those casualties were men doctors said.

People are regarded by medical workers as a safer group to target because the virus involves less DNA that can be transmitted by carriers.

Studies have also shown that fighting the virus is especially important during outbreak seasons or in rural areas when it is hard to control infections.

The country also completed the first step in closing its borders this week after people crossing the borders were quarantined for two months.

Three other African countries – Uganda Cameroon and Nigeria – have also closed their borders for two months due to the crisis.

Ugandas death toll of 11630 is higher than Congos 5124 and Cameroons 6901 deaths reported last week but much of the Congolese data is able to be traced back to the Muscat region where the country is based.