A comprehensive study was performed to examine incidence, species distribution, drugs sensitivity, virulence genes and molecular fingerprints of Aeromonas species isolated from patients with acute diarrhoea over a period of 2 years in Kolkata, India. Following the Aerokey II scheme, more than 95 % of strains were identified to species level. Seven different species were encountered in this study, with Aeromonas caviae being dominant, followed by Aeromonas hydrophila and Aeromonas veronii biovar sobria. Thirty different serotypes were encountered, with O16, O83 and O85 being dominant, but no serotype was associated specifically with a single species. The majority of Aeromonas strains exhibited multidrug resistance. The alt and act genes, which encode heat-labile cytotonic and cytotoxic enterotoxins, were respectively found in 71.9 and 20.1 % of strains examined. Only 2.4 % of strains carried the heat-stable cytotonic enterotoxin (ast) gene. The hlyA gene was found in 28 % of Aeromonas strains. With few exceptions, genomic diversity of Aeromonas strains belonging to the same serotype was observed by random amplification of polymorphic DNA PCR and ribotyping. Different species of Aeromonas and different clones of Aeromonas species seem to be associated with hospitalized cases of diarrhoea in Kolkata, India.