A gonorrhoea outbreak involving a highly-drug resistant bacteria has sparked a national alert in England, after at least 15 cases have been detected in the northern part of the country so far.

The reported cases of gonorrhoea have been found to be highly resistant to the azithromycin drug, which is one of the main treatments against the sexually transmitted infection, the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV said, according to SBS World News

The first case of the 'super gonorrhoea' was detected in Leeds in March this year, and the area has seen 11 more cases, while four other cases were reported from Macclesfield, Scunthorpe and Oldham, according to the British media.  

"This azithromycin highly-resistant outbreak is the first one that has triggered a national alert. It doesn't sound like an awful lot of people, but the implication is there's a lot more of this strain out there and we need to stamp it out as quickly as possible," Peter Greenhouse, a Bristol-based sexual health  consultant told the BBC.

While gonorrhoea is the second most common sexually transmitted bacterial infection in the United Kingdom after chlamydia, the sexually transmitted bacteria reference unit (STBRU) being resistant to azithromycin is rare.

Gonorrhoea mainly spreads through unprotected sex and is caused by the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacterium. The infection can cause inflammation and may also lead to infertility.