A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) of a 150-bp tandem repeat of Onchocerca volvulus (O-150) combined with Southern-blot hybridization to species-specific DNA probes was employed for DNA detection. O-150 was amplified from parasites originating from Uganda, Benin, Cameroon, Liberia, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Zaire and was successfully hybridized to digoxigenin-labeled oligonucleotides. To investigate the sensitivity of the PCR, 2 skin biopsies were taken from each of 227 persons from Uganda with proven O. volvulus infections but with low microfilaria (mf) densities due to ivermectin treatment. One biopsy was tested by PCR and the other was digested using collagenase to assess the total number of mf. The PCR revealed 76.2% of the samples to be positive, and the collagenase method showed that 78.9% were positive, indicating similar sensitivity for the two methods. It is probable that for both techniques the biopsy must contain at least one live mf or fragments of a dead mf. In this study, no free or circulating O. volvulus DNA could be detected in skin biopsies by PCR.