Distemper kills 7 California wild desert kit foxes 

California wildlife officials say canine distemper has killed seven desert kit foxes — the first cases of the disease in the wild species.

Department of Fish and Game authorities say the deaths occurred over the past two months near Blythe in eastern Riverside County. They want to know whether the deaths are isolated or the disease is more widespread.

Authorities vaccinated 27 foxes against the disease and others have been tagged or given radio collars in order to track their populations.

It's unclear how the foxes got the disease. It can occur naturally or spread from domestic animals.

The foxes were found on public lands leased to a company that's building a solar power plant but construction has been halted temporarily, in part because of the distemper discovery.

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