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SE Texan at least 53rd Texas West Nile death

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HOUSTON (AP)--A Waller County man has become the fifth resident of the Houston metropolitan area to die of West Nile virus, bringing the virus death toll in Texas to at least 53 this year.

Waller County Emergency Management Coordinator Brian Cantrell tells KTRK-TV of Houston that state health officials notified him of the death Thursday. He says he knows only that the victim lived in the Hempstead area.

The only other West Nile deaths reported in the Houston metropolitan area have been in four in Houston itself.

Federal health officials say this is the nation's worst year for the mosquito-borne virus since it was discovered in New York 13 years ago. Texas has about half of the U.S. deaths from the illness.

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