Pseudomonas cepacia has recently emerged as an important nosocomial pathogen. We analyzed a national nosocomial infections database, the National Nosocomial Infections Surveillance (NNIS) system, to describe the epidemiology of endemic nosocomial P. cepacia infections. Between 1980 and 1985, the P. cepacia nosocomial infection rate was 2.4 per 100,000 patient discharges. During this period, there was a significant increase in the P. cepacia infection rate. The highest infection rate was reported from large medical school-affiliated hospitals. Over 90% of the infections were reported from medicine and surgery services. The most frequently reported site of infection was the lower respiratory tract (31%), followed by blood (20%) and the urinary tract (20%). Nosocomial P. cepacia infections are often associated with mortality, particularly when they involve the lung. These data confirm the hypothesis that P. cepacia is an emerging nosocomial pathogen and suggest that the epidemiology of endemic infections differs from that reported for epidemic inflections.