The objectives of this study were to investigate the diversity of Escherichia coli O157:H7 isolates obtained over a 3-month period from a cattle feedlot in order to assess the relationship between environmental and faecal isolates and to determine the pattern of transmission of E. coli O157:H7 between groups of cattle. Faecal samples were obtained from cattle housed in four adjacent feedlot pens at monthly intervals, with environmental pen samples collected simultaneously. All E. coli O157:H7 isolates obtained were examined by pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to detect eaeA, ehxA, stx1 and stx2 genes and antibiotic sensitivity profiling. Ten isolates were subjected to acid shock to imitate conditions in the acidic cattle abomasum and assess the effect on PFGE profiles. E. coli O157:H7 was isolated from 69 faecal samples and 26 environmental samples. All isolates (n=95) carried the genes for eaeA, ehxA and stx2 and were sensitive to all antibiotics tested. The PFGE profiles of all isolates differed by no more than two bands and clustered within 80% similarity following dendrogram analysis. Acid shock had no effect on the subsequent PFGE patterns. A total of 8.7% (6/69) of cattle were shedding E. coli O157:H7 in the first month with faecal shedding increasing to 52% (36/69) by the third month of the study. A single isolate of E. coli O157:H7 may be passed rapidly through cattle pens, with the environment acting as a significant reservoir for transmission. PFGE is a useful tool for tracking the direct and indirect transmission of E. coli O157:H7 isolates on the farm.