Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) represents a clinicopathological syndrome with diverse causes. We examined the possibility that some cases of FSGS are associated with parvovirus B19 infection. We studied renal biopsy tissue from 40 patients, including those with idiopathic FSGS, collapsing FSGS, membranous nephropathy, and minimal change disease, as well as normal renal tissue removed at the time of nephrectomy from 4 patients. DNA was extracted from frozen blocks of kidney tissue and amplified using nested polymerase chain reaction. Parvovirus B19 DNA was amplified from 8 of 10 patients with idiopathic FSGS, 9 of 10 patients with collapsing FSGS, 6 of 10 patients with membranous nephropathy, 5 of 10 patients with minimal change disease, and 2 of 4 cancer nephrectomy samples. The prevalence of parvovirus B19 DNA was greater among patients with idiopathic FSGS and collapsing FSGS compared with patients with other diagnoses (P = 0.05). In situ hybridization studies using digoxigenin-labeled DNA probes failed to detect parvovirus B19 nucleic acid in any of the kidney tissue samples. These results suggest that parvovirus B19 DNA is commonly found in the kidneys of patients with a range of renal diagnoses, possibly representing latent DNA from past infection. The failure to localize parvovirus B19 nucleic acid within kidney argues against ongoing, high-level viral replication. Nevertheless, the increased prevalence of B19 DNA in patients with idiopathic FSGS and collapsing FSGS could indicate a pathogenic role for the virus in the cause of FSGS in certain patients.