IMF says Ebola having 'acute' impact on W. African economies

WASHINGTON Thu Aug 28, 2014 10:40am EDT

WASHINGTON Aug 28 (Reuters) - The worst ever outbreak of the Ebola disease is likely to lead to "sharply" lower growth in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and raise financing needs in all three West African countries, an IMF spokesman said on Thursday.

At least 1,500 people have died of the deadly hemorrhagic virus since it was detected in the remote jungles of southeast Guinea in March and spread quickly to neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone. Five people have also died in Nigeria.

"The Ebola outbreak is having an acute macroeconomic and social impact on three already fragile countries in West Africa," IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told reporters.

"We are actively working with all three countries to prepare a preliminary economic assessment of the impact of the Ebola crisis, and additional financing support that may be required." (Reporting by Anna Yukhananov; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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