During an 8 year prospective study of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) requiring hospitalisation we found that 47 of 1118 (4.2%) patients had Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteraemia. Females outnumbered males 27:20. The mean age was 63.4 years and 25% of our patients were admitted from a nursing home. A comparison with the 1071 other patients with CAP showed that patients with bacteraemic pneumococcal pneumonia (BPP) were more likely to be female and to have alcoholism, diabetes mellitus, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease as co-morbidities. The mortality rate of 19% in BPP was not significantly lower than the 22% rate for the remaining patients with CAP. Four of the nine (44%) patients with BPP who died, did so within 24 h of admission, compared with 29 of 236 (12.3%) (P less than 0.02) who died of CAP. A notable clinical feature was the absence of cough in 19% while overall in only 66% was the cough productive. Most of the patients had a non-specific clinical presentation. Fifty-three per cent had an uncomplicated stay in hospital. We conclude that bacteraemic pneumococcal pneumonia is a continuously evolving disease and for the first time may now be more common in women.