Smallpox was a highly infectious and deadly disease. Sufferers were often thickly covered with large, prominent, fluid-filled spots all over their body and sometimes internally. This girl, who had not been vaccinated, is infected with smallpox. It is likely that, if she survived, she would have been badly scarred for the rest of her life. Presumably the nurse on whose knee she is sitting has been vaccinated.
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Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Reference: Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives, H-31, 1904, p. XVI
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