The 82 cases of Crohn's disease diagnosed in Greater Cape Town between 1970 and 1979 were followed up after a median time of 9.6 years from diagnosis. Sixty patients were contacted; 6 had died and 16 were not available for follow-up. Only 1 death was disease-related. Mortality in Crohn's disease was not increased. There were no cases of carcinoma of the colon. At diagnosis most patients had had moderately severe disease, and 10 years later, 80% had mild-to-moderate symptoms. The 5-year resection rate was 46% and the 10-year rate 68%; 23% of patients required a second resection within 5 years of the first, and 42% within 10 years. Surgery occurred earlier in those with ileitis. Ten patients were over the age of 60 years at diagnosis; there was no apparent difference between the extent of their disease and that in the group as a whole. However, the elderly patients appeared to have a better prognosis--59% having been symptom-free for more than 1 year, and none having required a second resection.