Bloodstream infections with Candida are often lethal and have been reported to be increasing in frequency. The current retrospective study describes the magnitude and epidemiological characteristics of candidemia in all western-type hospital facilities in Israel in 1994. Comprehensiveness of the data from the reporting hospitals was checked by cross-study of the data from the infectious diseases records and from the hospitalization records. Vital status of all reported cases was evaluated 1 year after the diagnosis. Data on 298 newly diagnosed cases of candidemia were received from 14 of the 18 general hospitals in Israel. The proportion of candidemia in the Israeli hospitals ranged from 0.1 to 0.01% of all admissions, with a mean of 0.05%. The incidence of candidemia differed significantly between the wards from 4-5/10,000 in general surgery and internal medicine wards to about 60/10,000 and 80/10,000 in intensive care and preterm units, respectively. Of all detected cases 53.6% were Candida albicans. Another nine specific species of Candida (mainly Candida parapsilosis, Candida tropicalis and Candida glabrata) were detected, with major differences between the various hospitals. The species of Candida differed significantly by sex and age. Of the cases of candidemia 21.5% died within 30 days of the isolation of the pathogen. The one-year mortality rate was 31.9%. Species-specific 30-day mortality rate was highest for C. glabrata. Throughout the analysis, C. glabrata emerged as a unique cause of candidemia, producing higher mortality, appearing at a younger age and predominating among females.