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HOUSTON A Brenham man being treated for flesh-eating bacteria at Methodist Hospital continues to make progress in his recovery.

Surgeons were forced to amputate part of Keith Korth s leg to save his life from the often deadly bacteria.

Korth, 44, began trying to walk Thursday, according to relatives.

The Brenham resident contracted the disease during a fishing tournament in Port O Connor last weekend.

His family believes brand new boots and a blister are to blame.

The wading boots rubbed a blister on his foot. Evidently, the water got in there, said Lynn Reynolds, Korth s Mother-in-law. It was touch-and-go for a while.

Fisherman Bobby Greer held his Possum Invitational fishing tournament last weekend in Port O Connor where Keith Korth was fishing. He said the threat of the dangerous bacteria has changed many fishermen s habits.

Back in the day, I wouldn t even have a band-aid in the boat. Now I have all kind of stuff to clean wounds and put band-aids on it, Greer said.

Anyone with an open wound should avoid warm, salty water especially if their health is already compromised.

Even though flesh-eating bacteria are relatively rare, it can happen to anyone.

Dr. Maria Rodriquez, Chief of Infectious Diseases at the Department of Veterans Affairs, said the most common way to get the disease is to give it to yourself. She explained that we all have strep bacteria on our skin and if we get even a small cut, that strep could infect us with flesh-eating bacteria.

It could be through a paper cut. Any break down in the skin can do it, she said. It truly can happen to anybody.

The first sign of flesh-eating bacteria is often a small, red, painful lump or bump on the skin. The center may become black and the skin may open and ooze.

Symptoms include: feeling ill; fever; sweating; chills; nausea; dizziness; and weakness.

Doctors say acting quickly is the key and you should get to the hospital right away. Dr. Rodriguez said if the wound is not treated within 24 to 48 hours, it could cost you your limbs or even your life.

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