Proinflammatory conditions, including acute and chronic infections, have been associated with an increased risk of stroke. The risk of stroke is increased by both the acute and chronic phases of a wide spectrum of proinflammatory conditions, suggesting that the association is related to activation of the inflammatory response rather than the condition itself. Different inflammatory mechanisms probably influence the risk of different stroke subtypes. This hypothesis is supported by observations that high levels of various immune system markers and acute phase reactants in otherwise healthy individuals have also been associated with ischaemic stroke subtypes. C-reactive protein, IL-6 and lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 are some of the inflammatory markers that have been associated with stroke risk and prognosis. Multiple epidemiological studies have demonstrated that these markers are associated with the risk of stroke, but the value of these markers in a clinical setting has not yet been proven. Further research is needed to determine whether immune system modulators can lower the risk of stroke in individuals with elevated concentrations of inflammatory markers. Here, we review the association between infection, systemic inflammation, and ischaemic stroke, and discuss the currently recommended preventive methods to decrease the risk of stroke associated with systemic inflammation.