Résumé : Risk factors for central venous catheter (CVC)-related bacteraemia among infants admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) were analysed and the impact of surveillance and continuing education on the incidence of this complication investigated. Among patients admitted to a NICU, CVC-related bacteraemia increased from 1/15 (7%) in 1987 to 11/26 (42%) in 1988 (P = 0.01). Coagulase-negative staphylococci isolated from bacteraemia patients showed clonal diversity by plasmid and chromosomal fingerprinting. A review of CVC care procedures suggested breaches in aseptic techniques. Catheter-care technique was revised to ensure maximal aseptic precautions, including the use of sterile gloves, gown and drapes. The new policy was promoted by a continuing education programme and regular feed-back of CVC-related bacteraemia incidence to NICU staff. In the four-year follow-up period, the attack-rate of CVC-related bacteraemia decreased to 18/156 (12%) patients [relative risk (RR): 0.27, 95% confidence interval (CI); 0.15-0.51; P < 0.001 vs the previous period]. By using the Cox's model proportional hazards, very low birth weight and the period before use of strict aseptic CVC care were found to be predictors of increased risk of catheter-related bacteraemia after adjustment for duration of catheterization. These data provide further evidence that strict aseptic precautions during the maintenance and utilization of CVC can contribute to lower the risk of catheter infection in critically ill neonates. Regular feedback of surveillance data was associated with a progressive decrease in incidence of infection, suggesting that it improved staff compliance with aseptic precautions.