An outbreak of rotavirus diarrhoea amongst patients on two wards in a geriatric unit was investigated using polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) and serotyping. There had been no contact between the patients on different wards but some interchange of staff had occurred so it was important to exclude the possibility that the rotavirus had been spread by staff. Two strains of rotavirus were shown to be present, one on each ward. Differences in the electropherotypes and serotypes were demonstrated, showing conclusively that transfer of virus between the wards had not occurred. Thus, serotyping and PAGE are of value in the investigation of rotavirus outbreaks in the hospital setting where cross-infection between wards is suspected.