Human infection with Rhodococcus equi is apparently rare with most published reports describing the development of lung abscesses in immunocompromised hosts. Of only 18 cases of infection previously recorded, four have recently occurred in patients with the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). In Australasia, R. equi has frequently been isolated from soil and infected farm animals yet no human infections have been reported thus far. Three cases of R. equi infection have occurred in New Zealand and, collectively, they cover a wider spectrum of disease than that previously recognised. The natural history of R. equi infections, their clinical features and treatment are described in the light of our recent experience.