Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis is a common cause of salmonellosis in people in the UK. This study aimed to assess the degree of genetic diversity among animal and human isolates from UK, Wales and northern Ireland. A total of 250 isolates from humans (n = 59) and animals or their environment (n = 191), belonging to the most common phage-types, were fingerprinted by a combination of PFGE, PS ribotyping and plasmid profiling. The different techniques identified different degrees of polymorphism (PS ribotyping (52 types) > PFGE (22 types) > plasmid profiling (17 types)). A prevalent genomic clone, as well as a variety of less frequent clones are present for each of the phage-types. In most cases, the prevalent clones appeared within isolates from several animal species and from several geographical locations. The percentage of sporadic clones found in animal and human populations were very similar. There was not clear evidence of a higher degree of diversity for human or animal isolates. Some clones were found to be present in both human and animal. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.