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After listeria outbreak, Blue Bell ice cream is back

BRENHAM, Texas -- Blue Bell Creameries has resumed ice cream shipments four months after listeria contamination halted sales and production.

The Brenham, Texas-based company on Tuesday used Twitter and Facebook to announce its trucks "are on the road again" and filled with ice cream. The messages did not say when and where Blue Bell products would be sold.

Blue Bell in April voluntarily recalled all products after its treats were linked to 10 listeria illnesses in four states, including three deaths in Kansas.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says half of those who got sick contracted the illness after consuming milkshakes made with Blue Bell products at a Kansas hospital, where they were being treated for other conditions.

The company stopped production and started extensive cleaning and decontamination at its plants in Brenham, Alabama and Oklahoma. Alabama regulators last week said Blue Bell could resume production at a plant in Sylacauga. Blue Bell didn't immediately return requests for comment Tuesday.

In May, the company said it would have to lay off or furlough hundreds of workers at its idled plants.

Listeria is a bacteria that can cause a serious food-borne illness known as listeriosis. Older adults, pregnant women and their newborns, and people with weakened immune systems face the highest risk.

The CDC says symptoms typically develop within a few days of eating contaminated food, and can include fever, muscle aches and sometimes diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. It can become life-threatening if the bacteria spreads into the bloodstream or infects the central nervous system.