During a 3-year period Branhamella catarrhalis was isolated in significant numbers from 239 (1·3%) of 19488 specimens of sputum sent for routine microbiological examination at a 700-bed general hospital. The majority of patients (83%) were over 60 years of age and 65% were male. There was a distinet seasonal variation in isolations with a peak incidence during the winter and early spring, a pattern not found with other pathogens. Susceptibility to amoxycillin decreased by approximately 50% over the 3 years, corresponding to an increased incidence of beta-lactamase-producing strains. There were minimal changes in susceptibility to other antimicrobial agents. Underlying pulmonary disease was the major factor predisposing to B. catarrhalis infection, and 71% of patients were smokers or ex-smokers.