Bacteroides fragilis, which constitutes about 1% of the colonic microflora in humans, is the most frequent anaerobic species involved in abscesses, soft-tissue infections and bacteraemias. Additionally, enterotoxigenic strains of B. fragilis have been demonstrated to be associated with diarrhoea in domestic animals and humans. Enterotoxigenic strains of B. fragilis derived from stool specimens and from infectious processes produce a toxin which induces a cytotoxic response in HT-29 colon carcinoma cells. These findings prompted us to investigate the prevalence of enterotoxigenic strains of B. fragilis isolated from various clinical specimens in Hungary. A total of 134 strains were collected from different clinical settings: 74 from infectious processes, 20 from stools of healthy subjects and 40 from the faeces of patients with diarrhoea where no other enteric pathogen could be isolated. Cell culture assays with HT-29 cells were performed on the filtered culture supernatants of the isolated strains. Of the 134 strains, 34 (25.3%) proved toxin-positive. The presence of free toxin was also observed in 20 of 50 (40%) of the faeces of adults with diarrhoea.