Newborns identified with profound biotinidase deficiency (BTD) by the Minnesota Newborn Screening Program (MN NBS) between 1 October 2004 and 30 May 2008 were all from new immigrant groups. Thirty-three positive cases of BTD were identified out of 264 727 infants screened by the Wolf colorimetric system during the period of this study by MN NBS. Five cases of profound BTD (0.1 to <0.6 nmol/min per ml) and 26 cases of partial BTD (0.9 to 2.3 nmol/min per ml) were later confirmed through measurement of serum biotinidase activity. The incidence of combined partial and profound BTD of 1/8540 and that of profound BTD of 1/52 945 in Minnesota are unusually high in comparison with the reported worldwide numbers of 1/61 067 for combined BTD and 1/137 401 for profound BTD. Four out of the 5 cases of profound BTD ascertained in the MN NBS cohort were of Somali ethnic background, and the remaining case was of Asian (Pakistani/Indian) ethnic background. All four Somali patients have the P497S mutation, with one of the four being homozygous for the mutation. The three compound heterozygotes all have a novel mutation (P142T) and two of them have another change (Y428Y) that has never been described. Within the last two decades, Minnesota has become home to an estimated 40 000 Somali immigrants and their children (<1% of the total Minnesota population). New population demographics prompt careful analysis of case cohorts to identify specific groups at risk for rare inborn errors of metabolism.
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