Background: There is a danger that mass drug administration campaigns may fail to maintain adequate treatment coverage to achieve lymphatic filariasis elimination. Hence, additional measures to suppress transmission might be needed to ensure the success of the Global Program for the Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis. Discussion: Vector control successfully eliminated lymphatic filariasis when implemented alone or with mass drug administration. Challenges to lymphatic filariasis elimination include uncertainty of the exact level and duration of microfilarial suppression required for elimination, the mobility of infected individuals, consistent non-participation of some infected individuals with mass drug administration, the possible development of anti-filarial drug resistance and treatment strategies in areas co-endemic with loasis. Integration of vector control with mass drug administration can address some of these challenges. The potential benefits of vector control would include: (1) the ability to suppress filariasis transmission without the need to identify all individual 'foci of infection'; (2) minimizing the risk of reestablishment of transmission from imported microfilaria positive individuals; and (3) decreasing the risk of dengue or malaria transmission where, respectively, Aedes or Anopheles are lymphatic filariasis vectors. Summary: With adequate sustained treatment coverage, mass drug administration should meet the criteria for elimination of lymphatic filariasis. However, it may be difficult to sustain sufficiently high mass drug administration coverage to achieve lymphatic filariasis elimination in some areas, particularly, where Aedes species are the vectors. Since vector control was effective in controlling and even eliminating lymphatic filariasis transmission, integration of vector control with mass drug administration will ensure the sustainability of transmission suppression and thereby better ensure the success of national filariasis elimination programs. Although trials of some vector control interventions are needed, proven vector control strategies are ready for immediate integration with mass drug administration for many important vectors. Vector control is the only presently available additional lymphatic filariasis control measure with the potential for immediate implementation. Published: 16 August 2006 Filaria Journal 2006, 5:10 doi:10.1186/1475-2883-5-10 Received: 17 April 2006 Accepted: 16 August 2006 This article is available from: http://www.filariajournal.com/content/5/1/10 © 2006 Burkot et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.