GENEVA (AP) _ U.N. medical experts believe the worst of the Ebola virus outbreak is over, even though the total number of cases in Zaire has risen to 160, including 121 deaths, a spokesman said Friday.

Philippe Stroot, a spokesman for the World Health Organization, said the new total included early cases that had not been identified previously, and only six new infections had occurred since May 18.

All the cases so far have been in the province around the Zairian city of Kikwit, where the outbreak has been concentrated.

``We talked this morning with our team at Kikwit,'' said Stroot. ``Their impression is that the acute phase of the epidemic is over,'' even though new cases may still be reported.

Stroot said WHO was so confident the situation was under control that four or five of the 40 experts it sent to Zaire to help contain the disease will be allowed to leave this weekend. A group of Swedish specialists was arriving in Zaire this weekend to work on the next phase of controlling the outbreak _ improving Zaire's health system.

Stroot also said a Swiss news photographer who was hospitalized in Bern because she was suspected of having Ebola is apparently not infected.

Katja Snozzi, 48, is continuing to recover and her fever has dropped to only slightly above normal, said Dr. Anton Seiler.

Ms. Snozzi spent three hours covering the outbreak in Kikwit on May 17, Swiss officials said. She was quarantined in the Bern hospital after returning to Switzerland on Sunday with a high fever.