At least 18 people, mostly children and women, have died of Japanese encephalitis in upper Assam districts of Lakhimpur and Dhemaji since the beginning of the month.
According to official sources here, 14 people died of the disease in Lakhimpur district, where nearly 100 others have been affected.
In nearby Dhemaji district four children died of the disease even as the district administration swung into action to take preventive measures, the sources said.
The affected people have been admitted to civil hospitals and nursing homes.
The district administration is planning to depute a special team of doctors in the two districts to prevent the disease from assuming an epidemic form, the sources added.