Multiple resistant staphylococci that cause significant morbidity and mortality are the leading cause of nosocomial infections. Meanwhile, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) also spreads in the community, where highly virulent strains infect children and young adults who have no predisposing risk factors. Although some treatment options remain, the search for new antibacterial targets and lead compounds is urgently required to ensure that staphylococcal infections can be effectively treated in the future. Promising targets for new antibacterials are gene products that are involved in essential cell functions. In addition to antibacterials, active and passive immunization strategies are being developed that target surface components of staphylococci such as cell wall-linked adhesins, teichoic acids and capsule or immunodominant antigens.