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The U.N. denies responsibility, and a mission spokesman said the protests were politically motivated. Haiti’s national elections are scheduled for Nov. 28.

Cholera is transmitted by feces and can be all but prevented if people have access to safe drinking water and regularly wash their hands.

But sanitary conditions don’t exist in much of Haiti, and the disease has spread across the countryside and to nearly all the country’s major population centers, including the capital, Port-au-Prince. There are concerns it could eventually sicken hundreds of thousands of people.