Stool specimens from 3,600 diarrhoeal patients from the island of Crete, Greece, were examined for bacterial pathogens, during a three-year period (1992-1994). One or more pathogens were identified in 826 patients (22.9%), more often from children. Salmonella spp. were the most frequently isolated organisms in 13.6% of the patients, followed by Campylobacter in 4.7%, and enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) in 3.9%. Yersinia enterocolitica was found in 0.7%, Shigella spp. in 0.7% and Aeromonas hydrophila in 0.05%. Vibrio spp. and enterohaemorragic E. coli were not identified in the stools tested. Resistance to ampicillin was observed in 36% of the Salmonella, 62% of the Shigella, and 27% of the EPEC isolates. Cotrimoxazole resistance was observed in 42% of the Shigella and 12% of the EPEC isolates, while tetracycline and the quinolones were inactive against almost half and erythromycin against 20% of the Campylobacter isolates. This is the first study investigating bacterial pathogens associated with diarrhoea on the island of Crete.