To allow rapid identification of toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 (TSST-1)-producing Staphylococcus aureus strains, a real-time PCR assay for the detection of the tst gene, which encodes TSST-1, was developed. The assay was applied to S. aureus isolates from patients with Wegener's Granulomatosis (WG), as well as isolates that were classified as either community- (CA) or hospital-acquired (HA). No significant difference in the percentage of tst-positive strains was observed between isolates from WG patients and CA isolates (24% and 25%, respectively). In contrast, only 14% of the HA isolates were tst-positive (p<0.05). Investigation of the clonal relationship between tst-positive CA and HA strains could indicated the recent emergence of a virulent S. aureus clone in the community.