Since first described In 1961, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has become a common nosocomial pathogen. Substantial increases in MRSA infections among nonhospitalized patients are being reported. Methicillin-resistant S. aureus is the most common isolate from skin and soft tissue infections in selected centers in the United States. Community-acquired MRSA strains differ from nosocomial strains in clinically relevant ways, such as in their propensity to cause skin and soft tissue infection and severe necrotizing pneumonia. Clinicians in numerous specialties, particularly primary care physicians, will likely evaluate patients presentIng with community-acquired MRSA and should become familiar with the epidemiology and clinical characteristics of and evolving therapeutic and preventive strategies for this infection.