Except for one unpleasant aspect — the lingering diarrhea — norovirus is known for coming on fast and then quickly burning out. For at least 136 victims, almost all Boston College students, their 24 to 48 hours of burning intestines and churning stomachs after eating at the now-closed Chipotle Mexican Grill near the BC campus should be marking their recoveries from stomach pain, nausea and vomiting. And while even the lingering diarrhea should end reasonably soon for BC students, some of whom had to miss final exams, the bad times may be just beginning for the company known on the New York Stock Exchange as CMG. Consider some these headlines in the past 48 hours or so: http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-chipotle-restaurant-chelsea-new-york-mexican-grill-chain-more-than-restaurants-around-world-image39039407“Who is Having a Worse Year: Volkswagen or Chipotle?” “Chipotle: The Long Defeat of Doing Nothing Well“Soundbites over science: Chipotle’s ‘diarrhea burrito’ and a culture of arrogance” “Food With Integrity Hits A Titanic Iceberg Of Indigestion” These headlines and the stories that follow them are signs that Chipotle is now stuck in what Eric Dezenhall calls “the fiasco vortex.” The chairman of Dezenhall Resources wrote in a CNBC commentary posted Monday that the “fiasco vortex” is where the “volume, venom, and velocity” of new and old media set in motion a runaway crisis in which a company has little chance in the short term of “reversing the cacophony.” And Chipotle’s stock is just not getting any traction. It was down again Monday by $6.84 per share, or by 1.21 percent, on a day when the broader markets as measured by the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up six-tenths of a percent. Still, the Denver-based burrito chain is coming in for just the sort of attention food companies want to avoid at all costs. “Chipotle, which is dealing with a pair of illness outbreaks linked to its food, coincidentally also had a score of 10 [on a consumer perception score] on the day its bad news broke,” writes E.J. Schultz, Chicago bureau chief for Advertising Age. VW’s cheating scandal took it to -50 on that consumer index. Ad Age reports that, by comparison, Chipotle fell to -26 on Nov. 8 and has since regained some ground to -13 as of this past week. Food safety is not usually a topic for either the business or the consumer press, but that is the difference now. Some of the reporting even makes errors that are in Chipotle’s favor. For example, the same Ad Age article has this quote from Stephen Hahn-Griffiths, the U.S. vice president of strategy for consulting at the Reputation Institute: “Chipotle is on two strikes — one more health related outbreak and it strikes out in the court of public opinion with significant reputation damage to deal with.” Trouble is, Chipotle is actually on its fifth strike in only the last half of this year. And public opinion is not being kind to the “fast casual” Mexican food restaurant chain. In his “Long Defeat of Doing Nothing Well” article posted Dec. 14 by Forbes, Henry I. Miller wrote this: “The company found it could pass off a fast-food menu stacked with high-calorie, sodium-rich options as higher quality and more nutritious because the meals were made with locally grown, genetic engineering -free ingredients. And to set the tone for the kind of New Age-y image the company wanted, Chipotle adopted slogans like, ‘We source from farms rather than factories’ and, ‘With every burrito we roll or bowl we fill, we’re working to cultivate a better world.'” “The rest of the company wasn’t as swift as the marketing department, however,” Miller notes, adding that, “Outbreaks of food poisoning have become something of a Chipotle trademark.” He also writes that the company is “out of control” and that it “repeatedly endangers the public.” The connection between the plights of Chipotle and VW actually began as early as Nov.9 when Andrew Hecht made the comparison, saying while the companies have different problems, “the results are the same,” citing “huge losses, their market caps have gone lower and reputations are tarnished.” At that time CMG was still fetching $612 per share. Such hot commentaries are raising questions about whether Chipotle will recover at all, but history suggests otherwise. For while any number of privately held companies and franchise owners have been wiped out financially by an outbreak — Peanut Corporation of American filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy after killing nine people and sickening thousands with Salmonella-laced peanut butter seven years ago — the publicly traded Chipotle is not likely to fade away. The closest comparison to its current situation is probably Jack in the Box, which lost 22 percent of its value on a year-to-year basis and two quarterly losses of 9 percent  after the 1993 E. coli O157 outbreak it was associated with killed four children and severely sickened about 700 more.  By the following year, however, Jack in the Box was up 2.4 percent on a full-year comparison. Yesterday, CMG was down another $7.70 per share to $557.30. (To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)