Studies on the molecular epidemiologic characteristics of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains have demonstrated their genetic and geographical diversity. In addition, it has been reported that there are genetic differences between community-associated (CA) and health care-associated (HA) MRSA strains. Therefore, we investigated the major epidemiologic characteristics of CA MRSA isolates in South Korea and compared them with those of HA MRSA strains. Distributions of staphylococcal chromosome cassette mec (SCCmec) types and other molecular features, including the Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) gene, were studied in 138 invasive MRSA isolates. Multiplex type IVA SCCmec was identified as the major CA MRSA infection type (53.1%), with a significantly higher prevalence than in HA MRSA (P < 0.001). One major group of type IVA strains carried a larger atypical class B mec element and new subtypes of ccrA2 (96% amino acid homology). The PVL gene was detected in one USA300-like isolate only. Seven major clone types determined by combinational grouping (genetic background SCCmec typing) showed representative patterns of antimicrobial susceptibilities. We concluded that less multi-drug-resistant strains of clone types B-I and D-1 (genetic background, B and D complexes; type IVA SCCmec) predominate in CA MRSA and that international PVL-positive strains have not spread in South Korea as yet.