Human parvovirus B19 (B19V) infection can be a life-threatening condition among patients with hereditary (chronic) hemolytic anemias. Our objective was to characterize the infection molecularly among patients with sickle cell disease and thalassemia. Forty-seven patients (37 with sickle cell disease, and 10 with beta-thalassemia major) as well as 47 healthy blood donors were examined for B19V infection by anti-B19V IgG enzyme immunoassay, quantitative PCR, which detects all B19V genotypes, and DNA sequencing. B19V viremia was documented in nine patients (19.1%) as two displayed acute infection and the rest had a low titre viremia (mean 3.4 x 10(4) copies/mL). All donors were negative for B19V DNA. Anti-B19V IgG was detected in 55.3% of the patients and 57.4% among the donors. Based on partial NS1 fragments, all patient isolates were classified as genotype 1 and subgenotype 1A. The evolutionary events of the examined partial NS1 gene sequence were associated with a lack of positive selection. The quantification of all B19V genotypes by a single hydrolytic probe is a technically useful method, but it is difficult to establish relationships between B19V sequence characteristics and infection outcome.