GENOA, Wis. -

An invasive snail is being blamed for the deaths of hundreds of waterfowl on the Mississippi River.

The La Crosse Tribune reported that close to 1,000 dead coot and lesser scaup have been found washed up on the shores near Genoa since October.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the birds are believed to have an intestinal parasite found in faucet snails, which are a food source for waterfowl. The parasite can infect the birds and cause death within three to eight days.

Since the arrival of the snail, the bird deaths have been occurring annually for the past 15 years.

The National Wildlife Health Center said there are no reported health risks from handling or consuming the infected waterfowl, however hunters are advised to wear gloves.