Purpose of review Aim of the present review is to analyze the main parameters that may influence the onset of bacterial, fungal and viral infections in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes, acute myeloid leukemia and acute lymphoid leukemia. Recent findings The identification of factors influencing the onset of infections in high-risk patients is becoming one of the most important strategies to identify those patients who would really benefit from prophylactic and timely treatment. During the past few years several studies have been conducted to evaluate the impact of risk factors that may influence both the onset and the outcome of infections. The role of some of them is well defined (i.e. neutropenia, central venous catheters), whereas other factors are now emerging as new possible causative factors (i.e. iron overload, hospitalization). Summary Many factors have to be considered when evaluating the infectious risk in hematological patients. In current clinical practice the good knowledge of them may favor a better management of infectious risk, with a reduction of mortality rate.