The presence of a Salmonella serotype Enteritidis repeat element (SERE) located within the upstream regulatory region of the sefABCD operon encoding fimbrial proteins is reported. DNA dot-blot hybridisation analyses and computerised searches of genetic databases indicate that SERE is well conserved and widely distributed throughout the bacterial and archaeal kingdoms. A SERE-based polymerase chain reaction (SERE-PCR) assay was developed to fingerprint 54 isolates of Enteritidis representing nine distinct phage types and 54 isolates of other Salmonella serotypes. SERE-PCR identified five distinct fingerprint profiles among the 54 Enteritidis isolates; no correlation between phage types and SERE-PCR fingerprint patterns was noticed. SERE-PCR was reproducible, rapid and easy to perform. The results of this investigation suggest that the limited heterogeneity of SERE-PCR fingerprint patterns can be utilised to develop serotype- and serogroup-specific fingerprint patterns for isolates of Enteritidis.