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Ebola response too slow: Doctors Without Borders

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By JONATHAN PAYE-LAYLEH and SARAH DiLORENZO

Associated Press MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) - The international response to Ebola is still too slow and piecemeal, Doctors Without Borders warned Tuesday, as officials said the disease is crippling the economies of the three West African countries hardest hit.

The number of people infected with Ebola has passed, 17,000, according to data published Tuesday by the World Health Organization. Of those, more than 6,000 have died. Emphasizing the severity of the outbreak, Sierra Leone announced that yet another doctor, its 10th, has tested positive for the disease.

The vast majority of Ebola infections are in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, poor countries that have been left to handle the crisis without sufficient help, said Doctors Without Borders. It said foreign donors had concentrated on building clinics but did not provide medics to staff the centers. The group repeated its call for countries to deploy biological-disaster response teams.

In response, the World Bank lowered again on Tuesday its growth projections for the hardest-hit countries. It had already cut them in October.

Guinea's economy will grow just 0.5 percent this year, down from an expected 4.5 percent before the crisis began, said the bank in its latest assessment of Ebola's impact. Sierra Leone is expected to register 4 percent economic growth, down from a pre-crisis expectation of 11.3 percent, while Liberia will see 2.2 percent growth, down from 5.9 percent.

Kim is visiting Liberia on Monday and is set to travel to Sierra Leone and Guinea. The World Bank has pledged nearly $1 billion for the three countries, about half of which has been disbursed for the emergency response.

Dr. Thomas Rogers has tested positive for the disease, said Sierra Leonean Health Ministry spokesman Jonathan Abass Kamara. Rogers had been working at Connaught Hospital in Freetown.

He is being cared for at a special clinic in the Kerry Town treatment center reserved for infected health care workers that is staffed by British army medics.

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DiLorenzo reported from Dakar, Senegal. Associated Press writer Clarence Roy-Macaulay contributed from Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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