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Leaders of the west African countries worst hit by Ebola urged the world on Tuesday to back a "Marshall Plan" to help them stamp out the disease and rebuild their shattered economies. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma and Guinean President Alpha Conde pressed the need for recovery at an international conference in Brussels as the number of new cases slows. More than 9,700 people have died of the disease since the west African epidemic emerged in southern Guinea in December 2013, with nearly 24,000 people infected, according to the World Health Organization. The most important long-term response to Ebola therefore rests in plans and strategies for economic recovery," Sirleaf told the EU-backed conference.