The death toll from Ebola in the three West Africa countries hardest hit by the epidemic has risen to 7,518 out of 19,340 confirmed cases recorded there to date, the World Health Organization said on Monday.

The latest data reflect more than 140 new deaths since the last update, posted by the WHO barely three days earlier. The epidemic, centered in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, is the world's worst ever outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever.

Sierra Leone accounts for the most cases, 8,939, while Liberia has 7,830 and Guinea 2,571. But Sierra Leone's death toll of 2,556 is much less than the 3,376 recorded in Liberia, leading some health experts to question the credibility of the figures reported by Freetown.


Sierra Leone's government last week launched a major operation to contain the epidemic, where the public health infrastructure is flimsy and poverty widespread as in other West African countries.