The present study describes a bacteriophage (M(Sa)) active against Staphylococcus aureus, including methicillin-resistant staphylococcal strains. When inoculated into mice simultaneously with S. aureus A170 (10(8) CFU/mouse), phage (10(9) PFU) rescued 97% of the mice; when applied to nonlethal (5 x 10(6) CFU/mouse) 10-day infections, the phage also fully cleared the bacteria. The phage M(Sa), delivered inside macrophages by S. aureus, kills the intracellular staphylococci in vivo and in vitro. The phage can also prevent abscess formation and reduce the bacterial load and weight of abscesses. These results suggest a potential use of the phage for the control of both local and systemic human S. aureus infections.