The apparently recent emergence of ST398 MRSA in livestock populations in many countries is a valid cause of consternation, and the public health implications need to be better understood. However, in approximately seven years since being first recognized, the burden on human health has been minor, and the risk of exposure to these organisms is overwhelmingly concentrated in people with occupational exposure to livestock. Available data indicate that ST398 MRSA are less transmissible among people, and also likely less virulent. Risks to people without direct livestock contact appears to be minimal, even in pig dense communities, and foodborne transmission also appears to be of negligible concern. The factors underlying the emergence of ST398 in animal populations are not understood, and likely are complex. Quantifying the occupational health risks in livestock workers, and education of these groups about proper management and treatment of wounds should be the main priorities in the immediate future.