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Guidelines for treating the infections had not been updated in more than a decade
For the tens of millions of people afflicted with gonorrhea infections each year, treatment is becoming much harder as doctors warn of rapidly increasing resistance to antibiotics.

On Tuesday, the United Nations sounded the alarm, updating the decade-old treatment guidelines for gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis and asking doctors to be extra-careful when prescribing medications. The agency believes the 'misuse and overuse' of antibiotics is to blame for the resistance.

Medical officer Teodora Wi called gonorrhea a "very smart bug" that repeatedly adapts to new antibiotics.

The updated guidelines warn that quinolones, which had previously been recommended as first-line treatment for gonorrhoea, are now facing widespread, high-level resistance.

Antibiotic resistance in chlamydia and syphilis, though less common, is also a problem.

The agency estimates that, each year, 131 million people are infected with chlamydia, 78 million with gonorrhoea, and 5.6 million with syphilis.

According to Canadian public health data, rates of the gonorrhea bug in Canada are less prevalent than chlamydia. Though the number of cases appeared to drop in the late 1990s, they appear to be inching upwards again in more recent years.

Chlamydia has been on the rise since the 1990s.

Syphilis, the other sexually transmitted infection marked by the UN, is less common in Canada but it has also seen something of an increase over the last decade, especially among men.