[The worms] forc[ed] their way out by exuding acid under the skin until it bubbled and burst. The searing pain drove [victims] to plunge the blisters into the nearest pool of water, whereupon the worm would squirt out a milky cloud of larvae, starting the cycle anew.Eliminating the disease only required disrupting this life cycle, mainly by putting a mild pesticide in various ponds. But it wasn't easy to do. Read about the efforts to treat one pond that people regarded as sacred:
[Those who came to treat the pond] found many of the village's women forming a human wall around it....The good news is that the disease is on the verge of complete elimination. And, as the article explains, Jimmy Carter deserves much of the credit.
[T]he women shouted: "This disease is a curse from our ancestors, it has nothing to do with the pond water! If we let you touch anything, the ancestors will deal with us. We heard them crying all night!"