The pyelonephritis-associated adhesin gene papG of Escherichia coli occurs in three variants. Whereas the class II and class III variants are common among human urinary tract infection isolates, the class I allele, despite being the first cloned, has previously been found only in source strain J96. Five strains have been discovered from geographically diverse locales that, like J96, contain both the class I and class III papG alleles. One strain caused bacteremia, whereas 4 caused cystitis. Like J96, all 5 had group III capsule genes, expressed the H5 flagellar antigen and the F13 fimbrial antigen, and exhibited similar genomic patterns and virulence factor profiles. These findings demonstrate that the class I papG allele is not unique to J96 but is present in a group of extraintestinal isolates of E. coli O4:H5 that represent a disseminated virulent clonal group.