Most viruses are maintained by complex processes of evolution that enable them to survive but also complicate efforts to achieve their control. In this paper, we study patterns of evolution in foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) serotype C virus isolates from Kenya, one of the few places in the world where serotype C has been endemic and is suspected to remain. The nucleotide sequences encoding the capsid protein VP1 from eight isolates collected between 1967 and 2004 were analysed for patterns of sequence divergence and evolution. Very low nucleotide diversity (p = 0·0025) and remarkably little change (only five segregating sites and three amino-acid changes) were observed in these isolates collected over a period of almost 40 years. We interpret these results as being suggestive of re-introductions of the vaccine strain into the field. The implications of these results for the maintenance of serotype C FMD virus and the use of vaccination as a control measure in Kenya are discussed.