The diagnostic and clinical aspects of congenital Chagas' disease were studied in 71 children in Buenos Aires. The children's ages ranged from 2 days to 10 years. In infants < 6 months old, the disease was diagnosed by detection of Trypanosoma cruzi in the blood; the microhematocrit test was positive in 38 (97.4%) of 39 cases. This test was the fastest and most reliable diagnostic method in this group, whereas two conventional serological methods were useful in children > or = 6 months of age. Forty-six (64.8%) of the 71 children had no clinical signs of infection. The clinical sign most frequently documented was hepatomegaly (18.3%). Three children were coinfected with human immunodeficiency virus; the latter infection was severe in two instances. Nifurtimox (10-15 mg/[kg.d] for 2 months) was used for parasiticidal treatment, and use of this drug resulted in mild adverse effects.