In 1991, multiresistant Escherichia coli O78:H10 strains caused an outbreak of urinary tract infections in Copenhagen, Denmark. The phylogenetic origin, clonal background, and virulence characteristics of the outbreak isolates, and their relationship to nonoutbreak O78:H10 strains according to these traits and resistance profiles, are unknown. Accordingly, we extensively characterized 51 archived E. coli O78:H10 isolates (48 human isolates from seven countries, including 19 Copenhagen outbreak isolates, and 1 each of calf, avian, and unknown-source isolates), collected from 1956 through 2000. E. coli O78:H10 was clonally heterogeneous, comprising one dominant clonal group (61% of isolates, including all 19 outbreak isolates) from ST10 (phylogenetic group A) plus several minor clonal groups (phylogenetic groups A and D). All ST10 isolates, versus 25% of non-ST10 isolates, were identified by molecular methods as enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC) (P < 0.001). Genes present in >90% of outbreak isolates included fimH (type 1 fimbriae; ubiquitous in E. coli); fyuA, traT, and iutA (associated with extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli [ExPEC]); and sat, pic, aatA, aggR, aggA, ORF61, aaiC, aap, and ORF3 (associated with EAEC). An outbreak isolate was lethal in a murine subcutaneous sepsis model and exhibited characteristic EAEC "stacked brick" adherence to cultured epithelial cells. Thus, the 1991 Copenhagen outbreak was caused by a tight, non-animal-associated subset within a broadly disseminated O78:H10 clonal group (ST10; phylogenetic group A), members of which exhibit both ExPEC and EAEC characteristics, whereas O78:H10 isolates overall are phylogenetically diverse. Whether ST10 O78:H10 EAEC strains are both uropathogenic and diarrheagenic warrants further investigation.