From January through June of 1998, 4579 bloodstream infections (BSI) due to bacterial pathogens were reported from SENTRY hospitals in Canada, the USA and Latin America. Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, and coagulase-negative staphylococcus (CoNS) were the most common pathogens, together accounting for 55.2% of all BSI during this time period. Compared with the 5794 BSI reported from SENTRY from January through June of 1997, no major change was seen in the frequencies of occurrence of the most common bacterial causes of BSI. Between 1997 and 1998, the major change in antimicrobial resistance was an increase in oxacillin-resistance in both S. aureus and CoNS in all regions. These data demonstrate widespread antimicrobial resistance in Canada, Latin America and the USA, with a notable increase in oxacillin-resistance among staphylococci. Ongoing surveillance remains essential, and will enhance efforts to limit the scope of this worldwide problem.