Loiasis affects millions of individuals living in the forest and savannah regions of Central Africa. In some areas, this disease constitutes one of the most common reasons for medical consultation. The burden posed by loiasis is probably under-estimated and, in addition, individuals harbouring high Loa microfilarial loads are at risk of developing serious neurological reactions after treatment with diethylcarbamazine or ivermectin. These events are currently significantly hampering the development of the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control, and operational research is required to address the issue. The results of recent studies, involving either human populations from endemic areas or monkey models, have provided much more detail of the mechanisms associated with amicrofilaraemic or so-called 'occult' loiasis. New diagnostic tools have also been developed in the last decade, and various protocols are now available for the risk-free treatment of loiasis cases.