An outbreak of infections caused by Legionella pneumophila serogroup 5 was detected in a university hospital, and nosocomial reservoirs of the legionella epidemic were examined. Clinical isolates from two patients who had been affected by the L. pneumophila serogroup 5 outbreak, and from another patient with a legionella infection caused by the same serogroup 3 years later, were compared to L. pneumophila serogroup 5 isolates from the hospital water supply by two molecular methods, amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) analysis and random amplified polymorphic DNA analysis (RAPD). Genotyping confirmed the epidemiological linkage of the first two patients, and linked their infections with the hospital water supply. The third clinical strain, which was also linked to the hospital water, was very similar to the epidemic strain. Even though the water distribution system was sanitized (superheat and flush sanitation), the epidemic strain was shown to be persisting in the hospital water outlets several years after its initial discovery.