Minnesota begins screening for Krabbe disease in newborns

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, universal screening for Krabbe disease in newborns has begun across the state. Krabbe disease is a rare, genetic condition where the baby cannot break down certain fats which can lead to damage to the nerves. This can affect someone’s ability to eat, walk, and speak. Krabbe disease can cause death within a child’s first two years.

“Minnesota has one of the most comprehensive newborn screening programs in the country. Adding Krabbe disease to the long list of conditions the lab already screens for will help identify more children earlier, slow the progression of their symptoms and even increase their lifespan.”

Dr. Brooke Cunningham, Minnesota Commissioner of Health

Currently, there is no cure for the disease but a stem cell transplant can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. This treatment is most effective if performed within 30 days after birth. This is the reasoning behind this addition to the newborn screening tests.

MDH labs now screen all babies born in Minnesota for more than 60 conditions. More information about newborn screening is available on the MDH website under Newborn Screening Program.