We describe the control of wound infection with Staphylococcus aureus in patients undergoing continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis at St. Thomas' Hospital. Forty-nine percent of 61 catheters inserted in 1985 and 1986 became infected, and the majority of these infections were acquired in hospital. Infection was impossible to eradicate and was frequently associated with the subsequent development of S. aureus peritonitis, which was the most important cause of catheter loss. Strict adherence to aseptic techniques for catheter insertion and care, combined with eradication of S. aureus carriage, reduced the infection rate to 12% for the 50 catheters inserted in 1987, abolished hospital-acquired infection and reduced the S. aureus peritonitis rate tenfold, without the use of prophylactic antibiotics. S. aureus infection is a serious but avoidable complication of continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis.