Today, 10 years after the discovery of IL-8, chemokines (chemotactic cytokines) are seen as the stimuli that largely control leucocyte migration. Chemokines are low molecular weight chemoattractant cytokines secreted by a variety of cells, including leucocytes, epithelial cells, endothelial cells, fibroblasts and numerous other cell types. They are produced in response to exogenous stimuli, such as viruses and bacterial LPS, and endogenous stimuli, such as IL-1, TNF and IFN. These factors mediate chemotaxis and leucocyte activation. They also regulate leucocyte extravasation from the blood and/or lymph vessel luminal surface to the tissue space, the site of inflammation. There is no doubt that chemokines and chemokine receptors are critical for defence against infectious pathogens. It is also clear that these pathogens have evolved to accommodate the workings of the host immune system. Survival of these infectious agents appears dependent upon strategies that can evade, suppress, counteract or otherwise confound the constellation of host responses to invading pathogens. In this regard, the chemokines and their receptors are a major target. Reviewed in the present paper are several examples in which microbial pathogens have usurped the mammalian chemokine system to subvert the host immune response.