Parasitological and clinical surveys were used to determine the long-term impact of ivermectin on the prevalence of Wuchereria bancrofti and Mansonella perstans filarial infections, when the drug was given under community-directed-treatment strategies for onchocerciasis control. The study was undertaken in 11 communities in south-western Burkina Faso. Six of the villages investigated had been treated with ivermectin at least once a year for five of 6 years, with a mean coverage of approximately 65% in each round. The other five, adjacent villages, which were matched with the ivermectin-treated communities by size, ethnicity and social and economic activities, had never been treated because they were not endemic for onchocerciasis. Each subject was checked by the microscopical examination of a smear of 'night' blood, by measurement of the level of circulating antigens from adult W. bancrofti, and by clinical examination for hydrocele (if male) and lymphoedema. The prevalences of lymphoedema and hydrocele in the treated villages were similar to those in the untreated. The prevalences and intensities of W. bancrofti and M. perstans microfilaraemia were, however, significantly lower in the ivermectin-treated communities. The implications of this study are discussed in relation to the old Onchocerciasis Control Programme (OCP) and to the ongoing African Programme for Onchocerciasis (APOC), where extensive and sustained ivermectin distribution is planned through community-based treatment programmes. As with onchocerciasis in Africa, the success of annual treatments to control lymphatic filariasis will depend not only on the number of regular rounds of treatment given but on adequate coverages being achieved in each round. Wherever ivermectin is being distributed alone, for onchocerciasis control, its impact on other filarial infections, notably W. bancrofti, should be evaluated routinely. Any opportunity to add donated albendazole to such distributions should be taken, both to limit the transmission of W. bancrofti and for the wider public-health benefits.