Five patients with Campylobacter fetus(previously called "Vibrio fetus") bacteremia are presented with enteric symptoms in four patients, a self-limited course in three, and with possible nosocomial infection in one patient who had disseminated malignancy. The clinical syndromes of 91 bacteremic patients with campylobacteriosis and C. fetus taxonomy and pathogenicity are reviewed. Studies of potential pathogenic mechanisms in enteric infections failed to reveal the production of either heat-stable or heat-labile, cholera-like enterotoxin, cytotoxicity or invasiveness. In comparison with different species of vibrio infections, C. fetus appears to produce disease by a different mechanism, one which involves a bloodstream infection, perhaps following penetration through the intestinal mucosa as has been demonstrated experimentally with salmonellae and yersinia. Such a pattern is consistent with the clinical pattern of C. fetus infections and the experimental studies reported herein.