During recent years, a clear association between complicated courses of ulcerative colitis and the presence of cytomegalovirus (CMV) has been established. The exact pathogenic role of CMV in these patients remains unclear despite a great number of published reports. Therefore, we undertook a systematic review to appraise critically all available evidence ìn the literature on the role of CMV during inflammatory bowel disease. We identified and analyzed more than 30 case reports and 9 case series. Based on these results, we propose a model for viral replication during inflammation and provide recommendations for future research.