Nicky Rogers-Pirini still chokes up thinking back to the day her daughter was diagnosed with rheumatic fever.

It was four years ago but the Opononi mother has an important message to share.

"Make sure you always get a sore throat swabbed and make sure you know what the result is.

"And trust your gut instincts - if you think there's something wrong, keep taking them back," she said.

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Northland District Health Board statistics show there were 12 cases of rheumatic fever last year and 11 in 2017. It follows a drop in cases in 2015 and 16 -