In 2002, the prevalence of bovine tuberculosis (tb) among 500 cattle on Holeta Farm, near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was 48 per cent, and the farm was divided into positive and negative herds. After three consecutive rounds of skin testing and segregation of skin test-positive and -negative animals, the prevalence of bovine tb was reduced from 14 per cent to 1 per cent in the negative herd in a year. Spoligotyping of 41 isolates from 17 cows gave an identical and unique spoligotype pattern, which can be represented as the binary number 1100000101111110111111100010000000000100000, where 1 indicates the presence of a spacer and 0 represents a loss. This spoligotype pattern had not previously been reported on the Mycobacterium bovis spoligotype database, and it was therefore designated sb1176, Ethiopian M bovis strain 1 (embs1). The variable number tandem repeat (vntr) profile of the strain was 5254*33.1, which differed from the vntr profile of strains reported in Great Britain.