Representatives (n = 31) of outbreak strains of Acinetobacter baumannii from five countries fell into three clear groups, designated Groups 1-3, based on their ompA (outer-membrane protein A), csuE (part of a pilus assembly system required for biofilm formation) and bla(OXA-51-like) (the intrinsic carbapenemase gene in A. baumannii) gene sequences. With the exception of the closely related alleles within the Group 1 clonal complex, alleles at each locus were highly distinct from each other, with a minimum of 14 nucleotide differences between any two alleles. Isolates within a group shared the same combination of alleles at the three loci, providing compelling evidence that the outbreak strains investigated belonged to three clonal lineages. These corresponded to the previously identified European clones I-III. Sequence differences among the alleles were used to design multiplex PCRs to rapidly assign isolates belonging to particular genotypes to sequence groups. In the UK, genotypes belonging to the Group 1 clonal complex have been particularly successful, accounting for the vast majority of isolates referred from hospitals experiencing problems with Acinetobacter.