Hashimoto's thyroiditis is a common autoimmune disorder of the thyroid gland. It has been linked to infections with hepatitis C, EBV, HTLV-1, and Yersinia enterocolitica. As parvovirus B19 has been associated with a wide spectrum of autoimmune diseases, we investigated the potential role of B19 infection in inducing Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Serum samples derived from 73 children and adolescents with Hashimoto's thyroiditis and from 73 age-matched controls were included in the study. The mean age of disease manifestation was 10 y 7 mo. All samples were analyzed for the presence of viral DNA and for antibodies against VP1, VP2, and NS1 proteins. VP1- and VP2-specific antibodies were present in 38 patients (52%) and 43 controls (59%; N.S.). NS1-specific antibodies were detectable in 23 patients (32%) and 19 controls (26%; N.S.). Parvovirus B19 DNA was detectable in 9 patients (12%) and 2 controls (3%; p < 0.03), indicating recent B19-infection. A negative correlation between disease duration and the detection of viral DNA was seen. The mean disease duration in B19-DNA-positive patients was 6 mo, compared to 29 mo in the remainder (p < 0.01). There is strong evidence that acute parvovirus B19 infections are involved in the pathogenesis of some cases of Hashimoto's thyroiditis.