A public health emergency remains in effect for Morobe province in Papua New Guinea (PNG), but the threat from an outbreak of a combination of cholera and Shigella-related dysentery is subsiding, according to reports on Radio New Zealand.

The total number of deaths from influenza, cholera and shigella is 126, but there have been few new cases in the last four weeks.

Shigella thrives in the human intestine and is commonly spread both through food and by person-to-person contact.

The World Health Organization is crediting a “swift and reasonably effective” response to the outbreak by the government of Papua New Guinea.

“There are obviously lessons learned, some of the bottlenecks identified, particularly to get the supplies effectively rapidly deployed our to communities and we will take stock of the lesson learned,” said Dr. Eigil Sorensen, WHO’s representative to PNG. “But overall I would say that the response to these outbreaks has been more effective than I’ve seen in previous outbreaks.”

In addition to WHO, the government invited in non-governmental organizations like “Doctors Without Borders” to bolster the country’s sparse medical resources.

Health officials promoted hand washing and clean water in bringing the outbreaks under control.  They remain on high alert.