We retrospectively studied 29 cases of S.pyogenes bacteremia, treated from September 1985 through September 1993, in order to define the clinical pattern, predisposing factors and the outcome of S.pyogenes bacteremia in our region. The number of infections, the clinical picture and mortality rate of S.pyogenes bacteremia did not change during the study period and only 2 of 29 cases presented with a fulminant clinical course, meeting the criteria of streptococcal toxic shock syndrome. In many patients, predisposing factors such as skin abnormalities (n = 14) and airway diseases (n = 10) could be identified. Patients with underlying skin disease were mostly characterized by a clinically benign bacteremia with good prognosis. We suspect that the recently reported so-called rising incidence of severe S.pyogenes infections might be due to epidemiologic clustering and selection bias in certain regions.