We extensively studied the epidemiology and time course of endemic methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in the Millard Fillmore Hospital, a 600-bed teaching hospital in Buffalo. The changeover from methicillin-susceptible S. aureus to MRSA begins on the first hospital day, when patients are given cefazolin as presurgical prophylaxis. Under selective antibiotic pressure, colonizing flora change within 24 to 48 hours. For patients remaining hospitalized, subsequent courses of third-generation cephalosporins further select and amplify the colonizing MRSA population. Therefore, managing antibiotic selective pressure might be essential. Other strategies include attention to dosing, so that serum concentrations of drug exceed the minimum inhibitory concentration, and antibiotic cycling. Although there are some promising new antibiotics on the horizon, it is necessary to deal with many resistance patterns by using the combined strategies of infection control and antibiotic management.