Human parvovirus B19 productively infected erythroid progenitor (EP) cells from umbilical cord blood, in vitro as shown by an increase of viral DNA in supernatant fluid assayed by dot blot hybridization and liquid scintillation counting. Progeny virus was released into the supernatant fluid of CD34+ EP cells which had been purified by immunomagnetic separation. This supernatant fluid was infectious for bone marrow cells. Erythroid bursts infected with virus showed characteristic cytopathic effect by electron microscopy consisting of cytoplasmic vacuolization, marginated chromatin, and nuclear inclusions of lattice or crystalline arrays. Cultures of umbilical cord blood EP cells may be useful for the propagation of parvovirus B19 serological testing reagents and the study of virus-host cell interactions.