Vibrio vulnificus can be divided into two groups on the basis of pathogenesis. Group 1 is pathogenic only to humans, whereas group 2 is pathogenic to eels and occasionally to humans. Although both groups produce a 50-kDa cytotoxin-hemolysin (V. vulnificus hemolysin; VVH), the toxins are different. In the present study, the nucleotide sequence of the toxin gene (vvhA ) of strain CDC B3547 (a group 2 strain) was determined, and the deduced amino acid sequence was compared to that of strain L-180 (a group 1 strain). The nucleotide sequence of vvhA of strain CDC B3547 was about 96% identical with that of strain L-180, which results in a difference of 3 amino acid residues in the C-terminal lectin domain of VVH. Nevertheless, two primer sets for polymerase chain reaction could be designed to differentiate the toxin gene of each strain. When 27 V. vulnificus clinical isolates were tested, group 1 strains (9 strains) were shown to react only to the primers designed for vvhA of strain L-180; whereas, the gene of group 2 strains (18 strains) could be amplified with the primers for vvhA of strain CDC B3547. These findings may lead to development of a novel genetic grouping system related to the virulence potential or to the host range.