Rabies Program

A world leader in rabies prevention and treatment

Children’s Wisconsin is proud to be a leader in rabies treatment. Dr. Rodney Willoughby developed a treatment protocol for rabies and used the protocol to treat the first person to survive the disease without having a rabies immunization. Dr. Willoughby’s leadership has transformed the treatment of a disease that was once considered incurable and fatal.

About rabies

Rabies is a preventable viral infection that attacks the nervous system. It most commonly occurs after a bite by an infected animal. According to the Center for Disease Control, more than half of the people who contract rabies each year in the U.S. are under the age of 15.

Rabies symptoms in your child 

Rabies symptoms can match the symptoms of many other diseases and can include fever, headache and chills. As symptoms worsen, your child may experience:

  • Anxiety or agitation
  • Confusion
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Tingling sensation in the bite area
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hallucinations
  • Fear of water

If untreated, rabies can be life-threatening.

Treatment at Children’s Wisconsin

If your child has been bitten by an animal it is important to thoroughly wash any wounds with soap and water as soon as possible. It is important to seek medical treatment after your child has been bitten by an animal.

When your child is seen at Children’s Wisconsin they will receive a complete evaluation by experienced and skilled providers. This evaluation will determine the treatment course needed by your child.

Rabies registry (H3)

The Children’s Rabies Registry allows providers to report infections and outcomes for patients. To register a patient, please visit our Rabies Registry.


Learn more.


To request an appointment

Infectious Disease: Please have your child’s medical provider call the Pediatric Infectious Disease Program to request a consultation. We can be reached at (414) 337-7070.

HIV Program: To request an appointment or consultation with our HIV program, please call (414) 266-2000 and ask to speak with the HIV Program staff on-call. HIV Program staff is on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.