There are fewer studies on bacteremia coming from the community hospital, where the practicing family physician is likely to see this problem, than from the university hospital. The hypothesis of this study was that patterns of bacteremia would be different between the two types of hospitals. Two hundred four patient episodes of culture-proven bacteremia from two analogous community hospitals were reviewed. Bacteremia was discovered in 2.6 of 1,000 patients, which is lower than reports from university hospitals. Of the 213 organisms isolated, slightly more were gram-negative than gram-positive, whereas many tertiary care centers report a preponderance of gram-negative organisms. About 20 percent of the episodes of bacteremia ended in death, a rate lower than in many tertiary care centers, and slightly more patients died of gram-negative than gram-positive bacteremia. The most common organisms in descending order were the streptococci and Escherichia coli followed by Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Proteus species, and Streptococcus pneumoniae. The most common sources of bacteremia were, in decreasing order, urinary tract, source unknown, heart valve, and lung. The most common underlying disorders were, in decreasing order, malignancy, diabetes mellitus, complicated urinary tract infection, valvular heart disease, and postoperative infection. Correctness of treatment of bacteremia appeared to increase survival.