The major classes of enteric bacteria harbour a conserved core genomic structure, common to both commensal and pathogenic strains, that is most likely optimized to a life style involving colonization of the host intestine and transmission via the environment. In pathogenic bacteria this core genome framework is decorated with novel genetic islands that are often associated with adaptive phenotypes such as virulence. This classical genome organization is well illustrated by a group of extracellular enteric pathogens, which includes enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC), enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) and Citrobacter rodentium, all of which use attaching and effacing (A/E) lesion formation as a major mechanism of tissue targeting and infection. Both EHEC and EPEC are poorly pathogenic in mice but infect humans and domestic animals. In contrast, C. rodentium is a natural mouse pathogen that is related to E. coli, hence providing an excellent in vivo model for A/E lesion forming pathogens. C. rodentium also provides a model of infections that are mainly restricted to the lumen of the intestine. The mechanism's by which the immune system deals with such infections has become a topic of great interest in recent years. Here we review the literature of C. rodentium from its emergence in the mid-1960s to the most contemporary reports of colonization, pathogenesis, transmission and immunity.