All healthcare settings around the world face the problem of healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs). Rates of infection vary between countries and within the same country depending on resources, interest of caregivers and healthcare staff, and patients' socio-economic situation. According to recent publications, 10-70% of HCAIs are preventable. Failure to comply with guidelines on hand hygiene, glove and gown use, and barrier nursing is a problem and unnecessary infection control measures are costly. National legislations and regional, national and international standards and guidelines associated with infection control also have an impact for countries that are not directly involved. They should be based on the assessment of infection risk, and should not increase costs unnecessarily. The International Federation of Infection Control and national infection control societies play an important role in continuing the education of infection control specialists.