Staphylococcus aureus isolated from hospital staff (nurses and doctors) in Laos were characterized for future reference and for comparison with organisms found in Okinawa, Japan. No methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), among 38 isolates examined, was found in Laos, but 16 of 36 Japanese isolates (44%) were identified as MRSA. The minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of ampicillin and tetracycline against Lao isolates were definitely higher than those against Japanese isolates. The MIC80 of tetracycline was 50 μg/ml and 0.4 μg/ml in Lao and Japanese isolates, respectively. There was no marked difference in the production of enterotoxin by S. aureus strains in the two countries. Toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 was produced by only 1 of 38 Lao isolates but by 5 of 36 Japanese isolates. Coagulase types varied greatly, but about 50% of the isolates in both countries produced untypable coagulase. Since the interaction of Laotians with foreigners has increased rapidly in recent years, the careful monitoring of drug-resistant pathogens is required.