WASHINGTON  - The US state of Texas is battling an outbreak of the West Nile virus, with at least 16 deaths being blamed on the mosquito-borne disease, authorities said. Throughout the state, 381 people have been sickened since the start of the year, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. “Texas is on track to have the most cases of West Nile illness since the disease first emerged in the state in 2002,” it said in a statement. The county incorporating Dallas, the ninth-largest city in the US, has been the hardest hit with a total of 128 cases and 9 deaths.