Enterotoxigenic strains of Escherichia coli are an important cause of diarrhoeal disease in young farm animals. Several virulence determinants have been shown to play a major role in the pathogenicity of these strains. The molecular structure of some of these determinants including adhesion fimbriae, heat-labile toxins and heat-stable toxins have been elucidated. This knowledge has made possible the development of novel vaccines effective against enterotoxigenic strains. In this short review, the structure of these virulence factors will be described and the implications for the development of future vaccines will be discussed.