A random selection of 25 strains isolated during an epidemic caused by serogroup A Neisseria meningitidis in Sudan (1988), 3 preepidemic meningococcal strains (1985), and 26 serogroup A strains isolated from sporadic cases of meningitis in Sweden (1973 to 1987) were assessed for multilocus enzyme genotypes (ETs), DNA restriction enzyme patterns, outer membrane proteins, lipopolysaccharides, pilus formation, and antibiograms. All of the 25 Sudanese epidemic isolates and 22 of the Swedish strains were of the same or closely related ETs (ETs 3, 4, and 5), corresponding to clone III-1, which has been responsible for two pandemic waves in the last three decades. The earlier pandemic involved Scandinavia, and the last one caused an outbreak during the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia (August 1987), spreading to Sudan, Chad, and Ethiopia. The three Sudanese preepidemic isolates (1985) were clone IV-1 (sulfonamide susceptible), which has been resident in the African meningitis belt for the last 25 years. The uniformity of clone III-1 strains (all sulfonamide resistant) from Sudan and Sweden was confirmed by DNA restriction enzyme patterns. ETs 3, 4, and 5 from Sudan and Sweden had 86 to 100% similarity to a Swedish clone III-1 reference strain, whereas ETs 1, 2, 6, and 7 showed 50 to 80% similarity. Class 1 protein for clone III-1 showed serosubtype antigens P1.9 and P1.x, whereas ET6 strains (clone IV-1) had serosubtype P1.7. Lipopolysaccharides were variable in the Sudanese and Swedish strains. Pili were expressed in all clone III-1 isolates from Sudan and Sweden but in none of the clone IV-1 isolates (Sudan, 1985).