Surveillance of nosocomial infections is meanwhile a cornerstone of infection prevention activities in hospitals. The objective of this article is to compare healthcare-associated infection rates in intensive care patients, neonatal intensive care patients and operated patients (ICU-KISS, OP-KISS, NEO-KISS) of the German nosocomial infection surveillance system (KISS) with the corresponding data of the US American National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). In general, the methodological differences among the three surveillance systems are minor but there are some exceptions. Therefore, differences between countries have to be interpreted very carefully as they may be due to differences in diagnostics, patient mix, types of interventions, length of stay, selection of participating hospitals, post-discharge surveillance activities and interpretation of case definitions. Organizational aspects, such as mandatory participation with public disclosure on infection rates may also have an impact.