Flesh-eating bacteria case being treated in Houston

Portion of Brenham's man leg was amputated

Published On: Aug 09 2012 08:18:26 PM CDT   Updated On: Aug 09 2012 09:45:21 PM CDT
HOUSTON -

A Brenham man is recovering in a Houston hospital after losing his leg to flesh-eating bacteria.

According to family friends, the man was on a fishing trip in Port O'Connor over the weekend. Just days later, doctors amputated his left leg to save his life.

Keith Korth, 44, was fishing in an annual tournament.

Local 2 has learned there have been reported cases of flesh-eating bacteria, also known as necrotizing fasciitis, at that same locations in years past.

"It was a shock. I know he loves to fish. That was just one of those crazy things that happens," neighbor Maxine Schwarze said.

Doctors at Methodist Hospital amputated Korth's leg two inches above the knee.

"I've seen patients where, you know, they're on a fishing trip, they go to sleep and they woke up in the morning and all of their leg is red. It's very fast. This bacteria can go about an 2 inches an hour, " Dr. Luis Ostrosky with UTHealth / Memorial Hermann said.

Ostrosky is not treating Korth, but he said the bacteria can thrive during our warm summer months.

"This bacteria are present everywhere and 99 percent of the people are not going to get flesh-eating bacteria. It's rare cases where it happens, but when it's happening, you need to be fast," Dr. Ostrosky said.

According to Ostrosky, the bacteria can creep in, even in wounds as small as a pinprick or paper cut.

"Any cut needs to be addressed. You need to clean it with soap and water. An antiseptic ointment is best to use as well. You need to watch it. If it gets red, if you start seeing blisters, if you have any fever, you need to go to the hospital right away," Ostrosky said.

Other symptoms include intense pain, redness or heat at the site.

Doctors are not releasing information on Korth's condition.

According to experts, cases of flesh-eating bacteria are very rare. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported less than 1,000 cases a year.