Twenty-nine infants were identified as having coagulase-negative staphylococcal (C-S) bacteremia. Fourteen infants had pneumonia and 10 had central line-associated bacteremia. Twenty-four of 29 (83%) had invasion of the mucocutaneous barrier at the time the positive blood culture was drawn. Clinical signs and symptoms were nonspecific. Apnea/bradycardia was the most prevalent clinical feature, occurring in 20 (69%) infants. Staphylococcus epidermidis was the most frequent blood culture isolate, occurring in 21 (72%) cases. Slime production by C-S blood culture isolates occurred in 23 (79%) cases. There was no prevalent antibiotic resistance pattern, phage type or plasmid profile among blood culture isolates from infants with bacteremia. Mucocutaneous isolates of C-S from infants with bacteremia were compared with those from infants without invasive disease. Infants with bacteremia had a significantly higher percentage of slime-producing organisms (75% vs. 58%, P = 0.027) and a significantly higher percentage of S. epidermidis species (79% vs. 53%, P = 0.001) than isolates from infants without bacteremia. Our data support the relationship of slime production and the S. epidermidis species of C-S as virulence factors in infants with foreign bodies. Testing C-S for slime production is a relatively simple laboratory procedure which may be an additional aid in the evaluation of their clinical significance.