Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is endemic in hospitals worldwide, and causes substantial morbidity and mortality. Health-care-associated MRSA infections arise in individuals with predisposing risk factors, such as surgery or presence of an indwelling medical device. By contrast, many community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA) infections arise in otherwise healthy individuals who do not have such risk factors. Additionally, CA-MRSA infections are epidemic in some countries. These features suggest that CA-MRSA strains are more virulent and transmissible than are traditional hospital-associated MRSA strains. The restricted treatment options for CA-MRSA infections compound the effect of enhanced virulence and transmission. Although progress has been made towards understanding emergence of CA-MRSA, virulence, and treatment of infections, our knowledge remains incomplete. Here we review the most up-to-date knowledge and provide a perspective for the future prophylaxis or new treatments for CA-MRSA infections. Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.