Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis represents a spectrum of pathogenetically different diseases in which a T-cell induced, uncontrolled activation of phagocytosing macrophages may lead to fever, organomegaly, and pancytopenia. The underlying immunologic disturbance can either be genetically transmitted, like in FHL, or acquired, as in IAHS or MAHS. Triggering infections can be found in all these diseases and do not allow a reliable differentiation. An international treatment protocol has been developed for FHL. IAHS and MAHS also have a high fatality rate, justifying immunomodulatory treatment if the disease is progressive.