Pasteurella multocida is an enigmatic pathogen. It is remarkable both for the number and range of specific disease syndromes with which it is associated, and the wide range of host species affected. The pathogenic mechanisms involved in causing the different syndromes are, for the most part, poorly understood or completely unknown. The biochemical and serological properties of some organisms responsible for quite different syndromes appear to be similar. Thus, the molecular basis for host predilection remains unknown. The recent development of genetic manipulation systems together with the availability of multiple genome sequences should help to explain the association of particular pathological conditions with particular hosts as well as helping to elucidate pathogenic mechanisms.