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Kern County Public Health officials urge residents to protect themselves from mosquitoes, which can transmit West Nile virus.

Ten cases of West Nile Virus have been reported in Kern County this year — 7 of them in the past week — according to the California West Nile Virus website.

Kern has the second highest number of cases behind Fresno County, which has 37.

West Nile virus is transmitted through mosquitoes, which contract the virus through birds they feed on. The virus is transmitted to humans through mosquito bites and can cause flu-like symptoms. Most cases are mild but there have been cases of severe illness and death. There is no vaccine.

Statewide, there have been 89 human cases reported so far this year in 15 counties; 27 of those are new cases this week, the state website reported. 

So far this year, two West Nile Virus fatalities have been reported in California, one each in Fresno and Imperial counties.

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