Nine hundred seventy-two cultures taken from the external nares and the vaginal vestibules of 54 women for the isolation of Staphylococcus aureus were studied. The swabs were plated directly to a trypticase soy agar plate containing 5% sheep blood and were then placed into a selective staphylococcal broth. Both culture methods were compared for the ability to recover S aureus. Twenty percent (26/131) and 66% (38/58) of the S aureus-positive cultures taken from the nares and vagina respectively were cultured from the selective broth only. We believe that a selective staphylococcal broth should be used in addition to routine culture techniques to isolate S aureus from infection control surveillance cultures.