Clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus have been previously classified into eight types on the basis of their capsular polysaccharide. The high prevalence of the type 8 capsular polysaccharide among bacteremic isolates suggests the importance of this capsular antigen in staphylococcal disease. The capsular polysaccharide was purified from extracts of three clinical isolates of S. aureus type 8 of different geographic and temperal origin by ion-exchange chromatography and gel filtration. Gas chromatography, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, and 13C-nuclear magnetic resonance showed that the type 8 capsular polysaccharide is composed of O-acetyl groups, N-acetylfucosamine, and an aminouronic acid similar to N-acetylgalactosaminouronic acid. The purified polysaccharide reacted only with type 8 antiserum in double diffusion experiments. Our analysis shows that the type 8 polysaccharide is both chemically and serologically distinct from teichoic acid and previously characterized polysaccharides of S. aureus.