The clinical and molecular epidemiology of glycopeptide-resistant Enterococcus faecium was investigated during an outbreak on a renal unit. Forty-nine patients were colonized or infected during a 15-month period. Sites of colonization included faeces, urine, intravenous (IV) catheter tips and wound swabs. Ten patients had infections, which included five bacteraemias and three episodes of peritonitis. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis of 43 patient isolates of glycopeptide-resistant E. faecium identified seven strains during the first 7 months of the outbreak. Three of these strains affected five or more patients. One strain accounted for 17/43 isolates. Isolates that were possibly related to another renal unit strain were cultured from patients at two other Manchester hospitals. These isolates were epidemiologically-related, and may represent a single Manchester epidemic strain. Of five patients who had multiple isolates of glycopeptide-resistant E. faecium, three had isolates representing a single strain and two were colonized or infected by more than one strain.