A study was carried out in the South of Italy to assess the role of clostridia in neonatal diseases of lambs and kids. Eighty-seven lambs and 15 kids belonging to 25 flocks were examined and Clostridium perfringens was the microorganism most commonly identified. C. perfringens isolates were analysed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), in order to determine the prevalence of the genes cpa, cpb, cpb2, etx, iap and cpe. The most prevalent toxin-type of C. perfringens was found to be type A found in 84% of the cases with clostridial enterotoxaemia. No C. perfringens type B, C or E were found. C. perfringens type D was isolated in 16% of the cases. About 24% of the isolates were cpb2 positive. The prevalence of cpb2 across the different C. perfringens types varied. The beta(2)-toxin gene cpb2 was detected in 4/21 (19%) type A isolates, in 1/2 type D isolates, and in 1/2 type DE (cpe-carrying type D) isolates. The high rate of positivity to cpb2 among the isolates suggests that a vaccine based on the beta(2)-toxin, should be included in the vaccination schedule of the animals to confer adequate protection and to prevent the disease.