World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan (L) and Senior United Nations System Coordinator for Ebola Virus Disease Dr. David Nabarro appear at a briefing to discuss the Ebola outbreak in West Africa at the UN Foundation in Washington. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

More than 3,500 people have been infected by the Ebola virus and at least 1, 900 have died in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria since the first documented cases in December, according to new figures released by the World Health Organization.

Complimenting the US for its support through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, WHO director general Margaret Chan called upon the international community to do more to combat the disease, reports CNN.

Senior United Nations system coordinator for Ebola David Nabarro noted that paucity of hospital beds and healthcare was leading to infections spreading among family members caring for the sick.

He said there was a desperate need for human resources to help on the ground, besides funds of at least $600m to contain the outbreak.

American healthcare worker Nancy Writebol, who was infected and has recovered, and her husband David have also called attention to lack of hazard suits and other equipment required to keep doctors and nurses safe, reports AP.

The couple who work for North Carolina-based SIM, the charity that runs the ELWA hospital in Monrovia, said that 250 staffers at the hospital use thousands of disposable protective suits each week, but even they are not enough to fully protect the doctors and nurses.

This is evident from the infection of Rick Sacra, an obstetrician who followed all the protocols to protect himself at work.

The international president of Doctors Without Borders, Joanne Liu, has criticised the international community for its "lethally inadequate" response to the global threat and requested UN members with the technology to intervene in a biological threat to do so immediately.

She noted that the WHO announcement on 8 August about the epidemic being a "public health emergency of international concern" has not led to decisive action, and states have essentially joined "a global coalition of inaction".

New cases in Nigeria

Nigeria's minister of health said there are three new confirmed cases of Ebola in the oil hub Port Harcourt. In Lagos, five people have died from the virus.

Nigerian health authorities are monitoring the health of more than 200 people who may have had contact with the doctor who brought the infection to the country.

The confirmed Nigerian cases now include the doctor's spouse and a patient at the hospital where the doctor was treated.

The WHO is due to hold a meeting to examine the most promising treatments and to discuss how to fast-track their testing and production, reports BBC.

Disease control experts, medical researchers, officials from affected countries and specialists in medical ethics will all be represented at the meeting in Geneva.