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Los Angeles County health officials warned residents Monday to protect themselves against the mosquitoes that transmit West Nile virus, as the number of people killed by the disease in L.A. County this year reached seven.

The department launched a campaign Monday called “It’s Not Just A Bite” to try to raise awareness about mosquito-borne diseases, including West Nile.

Though most people with West Nile virus don’t have symptoms, a small number experience paralysis and brain damage that can be permanent or fatal. People who are at least 50 years old or have compromised immune systems are the most likely to suffer from these severe consequences, experts say.

L.A. County health department officials reported six deaths this year so far. A resident of Long Beach was also killed by West Nile this year but was not included in the tally because the city has its own health department. State data show that there have also been two West Nile deaths in Yolo County and one each in Kern and San Bernardino counties.

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