In order to characterize the subtypes of Salmonella typhi which cause sporadic disease in Taiwan, 55 isolates of Salm. typhi obtained from unrelated patients of sporadic cases during 1992-96 were subjected to chromosomal DNA digestion and pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). When DNAs of these 55 Salm. typhi strains were digested with XbaI, 41 PFGE patterns were observed. Strains sharing the same XbaI digestion pattern could not be further discriminated by PFGE analysis using SpeI and NotI as digestion enzymes. Thus, considerable genetic diversity exists among the Salm. typhi isolates. Although strains of the same patterns were mainly isolated during the same time, recirculation of certain infectious strains could be possible. When 12 antibiotics, i.e. ampicillin, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, erythromycin, norfloxacin, tetracycline, sulphonamide, streptomycin, neomycin, chloramphenicol, kanamycin, cefoperazone and gentamycin were used to test the antibiotic susceptibility for these Salmonella isolates, only three antibiogram patterns were obtained and 49 of the 55 Salm. typhi isolates were found to belong to one pattern. Phage typing and plasmid profiles were also poor in discriminating these strains. Thus, PFGE alone may be used as a powerful tool for analysis of sporadic associated Salm. typhi strains.