A total of 4624 pneumococcal isolates from episodes of systemic pneumococcal disease were received at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health during the period 1995-2001. All isolates were serotyped and tested for susceptibility to benzylpenicillin, lincomycin, erythromycin, tetracycline and trimethroprim sulphamethoxazole. The proportion of strains resistant to these antimicrobial agents remained stable at a low level, ranging from 0.1% for benzylpenicillin to 2.5% for erythromycin. The distribution of serotypes was also stable over the 7 years: serotypes 1, 4, 9, 14, 7, 6 and 23 were the most frequent, representing 70.5% of isolates. Overall, 95.8% of the isolates were of serotypes/groups included in the current 23-valent polysaccharide vaccine, 52.2% were of serotypes/groups included in the 7-valent conjugated vaccine and 85.5% were of serotypes/groups included in the 11-valent conjugated vaccine.