Helicobacter pylori strains harboring the vacAs1, cagA and babA2 have been associated with ulcer disease (UD). We compared the prevalence of these different genotypes and adhesive properties in H. pylori infected patients with UD in four European countries. Genomic DNA was isolated from 314 H. pylori strains: Germany (GER; n=92), Sweden (SWE, n=74), Portugal (POR, n=91) and Finland (FIN, n=57). The frequencies of babA2 genotype varied from 35% to 60%. Triple-positive strains (vacAs1+, cagA+ and babA2+) were significantly associated with UD in GER and POR and were closely correlated with UD in FIN, but not in SWE. Classification as triple-positive strains had a higher specificity for detection of UD in GER, POR and FIN than type1 or cagA+ strains. In vitro adhesion assays revealed that Swedish strains showed high adhesion properties and were thus correlated with the diagnosis of UD, although PCR detected the babA2 gene at lower frequencies and failed to show a correlation with UD. This finding appears to reflect allelic variations of the babA2 gene in SWE, although adhesive properties of the strains are retained.