Amplified-fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) analysis was used to investigate the genetic relationships among 255 vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VREF) strains isolated from hospitalized patients, nonhospitalized persons, and various animal sources. Four major AFLP genogroups (A-D) were discriminated. The strains of each taxon shared >/=65% of the restriction fragments. Most isolates recovered from nonhospitalized persons (75%) were grouped together with all pig isolates in genogroup A. Most isolates from hospitalized patients (84%), a subset of veal calf isolates (25%), and all isolates from cats and dogs clustered in genogroup C. Most isolates from chickens (97%) and turkeys (86%) were grouped in genogroup B, whereas most veal calf isolates (70%) clustered in genogroup D. Therefore, VREF strains are predominantly host-specific, and strains isolated from hospitalized patients are genetically different from the prevailing VREF strains present in the fecal flora of nonhospitalized persons.