Meticillin was introduced in 1959 to treat infections caused by penicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. In 1961 there were reports from the UK of S aureus isolates that had acquired resistance to meticillin (meticillin-resistant S aureus, MRSA). Similar MRSA isolates were soon found in other European countries, and later from Japan, Australia, and the USA. Today MRSA is a major cause of hospital-acquired infections, and a serious public-health concern. In this forum, we present different perspectives from across the globe to better understand the complexity of the problem, and examine the challenges that individual countries face in trying to control the spread of MRSA.