Twenty-three rifampicin-resistant methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) isolated in three wards at a university hospital in Turkey between June, 2000, and February, 2001, were studied for their genetic relatedness using a combination of antibiogram, coagulase serotyping, coagulase gene polymorphism (coa-RFLP), and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). They all expressed high-level rifampicin resistance (MIC, >256 mg/L) and were resistant to gentamicin, kanamycin, amikacin, ciprofloxacin, tetracycline, and cadmium acetate and were susceptible to fusidic acid, vancomycin, trimethoprim, and mupirocin. They belonged to the same coagulase serotype (serotype IV) and had identical coa-RFLP patterns. In contrast, PFGE generated nine banding patterns designated type A, types A1-A5, B, C, and D. The most common PFGE pattern (type A) and its subtypes (types A1-A5) were seen in 20 (87%) of the 23 isolates in the three wards. The results demonstrated the acquisition of rifampicin resistance by different MRSA clones and the spread of one clone among patients in the three wards.