A total of 292 bovine Staphylococcus aureus isolates obtained from the 1950s (86 isolates), 1992 (107 isolates), and 2000 (99 isolates) were examined for antimicrobial susceptibility and phage typing. The same types of S. aureus (80, 52, 3A, 3A/3C, 42E, 77) were found among the isolates from all three time periods, representing 43.3% of the typeable isolates. This indicates that the Danish S. aureus population related to bovine mastitis has remained relatively unchanged over the last 50 years. The occurrence of antimicrobial resistance has remained low in Denmark in comparison to other countries in Europe. (C) 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.