A national surveillance program of nosocomial blood stream infections (BSI) in the USA between April 1995 and June 1996 revealed that Candida was the fourth leading cause of nosocomial BSI, accounting for 8% of all infections. Forty-eight percent of 379 episodes of candidemia were due to species other than Candida albicans. The rank order of non-C. albicans species was C. glabrata (20%) > C. tropicalis (11%) > C. parapsilosis (8%) > C. krusei (5%) > other Candida spp. (4%). The species distribution varied according to geographic region, with non-C. albicans species predominating in the Northeast (54%) and Southeast (53%) regions, and C. albicans predominating in the Northwest (60%) and Southwest (70%) regions. In vitro susceptibility studies demonstrated that 95% of non-C. albicans isolates were susceptible to 5-fluorocytosine, and 84% and 75% were susceptible to fluconazole and itraconazole, respectively. Geographic variation in susceptibility to itraconazole, but not other agents, was observed. Isolates from the Northwest and Southeast regions were more frequently resistant to itraconazole (29-30%) than those from the Northeast and Southwest regions (17-18%). Molecular epidemiologic studies revealed possible nosocomial transmission (five medical centers). Continued surveillance for the presence of non-C. albicans species among hospitalized patients is recommended.