The contribution of parvovirus B19 (B19V) as a causative agent of febrile exanthema (FE) in Cordoba, Argentina, was analysed by detection of viral DNA, and specific IgM and IgG. Serum from 141 patients with FE who were negative for measles and rubella, collected during 2005–2009, plus serum from 31 healthy individuals, were assayed. B19V was the aetiological agent in 14·9% of all FE cases, and in 39·1% in an epidemic year (2007). B19V DNA was detected in 47·6% of IgM-positive FE patients, 30·2% of IgM-negative/IgG-positive FE patients, and 9·7% of healthy controls, indicating B19V long-term infection in ~10% of immunocompetent individuals. Persistent B19V DNA was significantly more frequent in children than adults and in males than females. All patients with acute B19V infection had rash and fever, 85·7% had adenopathy, and only 14·3% had arthropathy. This is the first follow-up study of markers of infection and immunity for B19V infection in Argentina.