Twenty isolates of Listeria monocytogenes associated with five confirmed and four suspected incidents of listeriosis in horses in Iceland were characterised by serotyping, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and ribotyping. Semiquantitative estimates of the numbers of L monocytogenes were made on faeces from horses with clinical signs of listeriosis and on grass silage fed to them. Large numbers of L monocytogenes were often found in the faeces of horses with severe signs of disease. The 20 isolates could be divided into six genotypes, each incident involving only one genotype. One serovar 1/2a genotype was associated with three confirmed incidents of listeriosis in 1991, 1993 and 1997. In one incident, the same genotype was isolated from the organs of a horse with listeriosis and from the spoiled grass silage fed to it.