Seacliff psychiatric hospital, Dunedin c.1910.
Institutions containing large numbers of people living in close quarters were particularly at risk of influenza epidemics – but they could be prevented through the enforcement of strict quarantine. Alert superintendents at Auckland and Christchurch psychiatric hospitals imposed isolation and only two people died at each institution.
Meanwhile, Seacliff and Porirua psychiatric hospitals suffered serious epidemics. There were 22 deaths at each institution and many more staff and patients fell ill. Jean Thompson, who was nursing at Seacliff at the time, recalled: 'Out of a staff of 80 we had only 18 nurses on duty at one point. Keys had to be given to patients that had disturbed and even dangerous case histories, yet they never let us down.'