Two women in the UK have been infected with so-called super-gonorrhoea, amid an increase in antibiotic resistance.

Public Health England (PHE) has reported that one of the women acquired the infection in Europe and the other in the UK, with uncertainty as to whether they are linked.

The two women were infected by a strain of the sexually transmitted disease that has high-level resistance to Zithromax (azithromycin) and Rocephin (ceftriaxone), after returning from a ‘party destination’ in Europe, health bosses say. Both women have since been cured, despite the infections being resistant to standard therapy.

PHE is now warning people to be aware of the disease, especially young people, who are disproportionately affected.

Dr Nick Phin, deputy director of the National Infection Service at the agency, told the media: “Although these two cases of extensively resistant gonorrhoea have been successfully treated, contact tracing is under way to ensure there is no onward spread.

“This is a timely reminder of the importance of avoiding getting or passing on gonorrhoea. Everyone can substantially reduce their risk by using condoms consistently and correctly with all new and casual partners.”

The sexually transmitted bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoea, or ‘gonorrhoea’ identified almost 140 years ago, was thought to have gone away by many sexual health experts but in recent years, the number of cases has rapidly increased.

Cases of regular gonorrhoea have risen by 22% in one year, with almost 45,000 diagnoses in 2017.