A drug-resistant fungus has infected over 200 patients in the UK, leading Public Health England (PHE) to give new guidelines to hospitals to tackle the outbreak.

Some 20 NHS trusts and independent hospitals had seen infections from the fungus Candida auris, PHE said. Three hospitals had seen outbreaks that were "difficult to control" while 35 hospitals were reported to have received patients known to be carrying the fungus.

PHE said there has not been an "attributable mortality" from the fungus in the UK.

Candida auris affects the ears and was first discovered in the ear of a elderly patient in Japan in 2009 before further cases were discovered around the world.

A survey launched in July into the colonisation of patients admitted to the ICU of five different hospitals should help with future guidelines, PHE said. The fungus has been described as resistant to the main types of antifungal drugs.

The Telegraph reported that healthy people may be carriers of the fungus though are unlikely to be infected although bloodstream infections can prove fatal.

Just over a year ago, PHE first published guidance for labratories and healthcare professionals on the diagnosis and management of the fungus with "sporadic" cases being reported in the UK since 2013.

"If a member of the public comes into contact with a patient who is carrying, or is infected with Candida auris, they should be protected by regular hand washing as a precautionary measure," PHE consultant medical microbiologist, Dr Colin Brown, told the Telegraph.

The paper also said that the fungus's drug resistance and quick spread have meant it has already been likened to a 'superbug' by some.