Genotypic and phenotypic virulence markers of the different categories of diarrheagenic Escherichia coli were investigated in 76 strains of the enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) serogroup O125. The most frequent serotype found was O125ac:H21. None of the serotypes behaved as EPEC, i.e. carried the eaeA, bfpA, and EAF DNA sequences simultaneously and presented localized adherence to HeLa cells. All strains of O125ac:H6 were atypical EPEC since they carried eaeA only, and presented an indefinite pattern of adherence. All strains of O125ab:H9, O125ac:H9, O125?:H16, and O125ab:H21 and 79% of the O125ac:H21 strains were enteroaggregative E. coli, since they carried a specific DNA sequence and presented the typical aggregative adherence pattern.