Can Lisa Whelchel survive West Nile virus?

Nov 15, 2012 at 5:47 p.m. ET

Health issues are now factoring into the life of actress Lisa Whelchel. The '80s sitcom star shared the news she's been diagnosed with West Nile virus on Twitter Tuesday, alarming fans old and new.

Lisa Whelchel

As word spreads that Lisa Whelchel has West Nile virus, fans of The Facts of Life and Survivor star are freaking out, saying prayers and spreading rumors.

"Dr. just called with blood test results... I have West Nile. Ugh," Lisa Whelchel tweeted Tuesday, alarming those who had no clue she was facing any health struggles. "I'm fine, just tired. Takes a year to recover. :("

How and when exactly the 49-year-old contracted West Nile virus, which is spread by mosquitoes, remains in question.

Newly single Lisa Whelchel joins Survivor >>

Responding to the Twitter news, one fan replied to the Survivor: Philippines contestant, "Are you serious? From the Philippines? From a mosquito? I'm so sorry."

Despite the gossip, there is no indication Lisa Whelchel contracted West Nile virus during her stint trying to outwit, outplay and outlast her fellow contestants. In fact, People reports there have been nearly 4,000 cases in the U.S. this year.

Wednesday, Lisa Whelchel responded to those who have tweeted their concerns, writing, "I've been very touched by all the sweet tweets. Other than tired, I'm feeling fine & expecting a full recovery. So grateful for you. Thanks!"

Survivor: Wedding Island — Jeff Probst gets hitched! >>

2012 has proven to be a year full of bumps, hurdles and adventures for the former Facts of Life star, who divorced her husband of 24 years in March.

"The divorce was final on March 1, and [I] went out to be on Survivor on March 10," she explained previously. "Going out to Survivor was helpful for me, to divert my attention and not just dwell on the loss."

"The external elements, the weather and the starvation, the bugs, that really wasn't the hard part for me. It was the internal struggle," she also elaborated to Access Hollywood of her experience filming in the Philippines.

"The challenge of playing the game, the way you're supposed to play it to win. You're going to have to do some lying and backstabbing and hurting people and that was a bigger struggle for me. That turned out to be harder than I anticipated."

Leave your well-wishes for Lisa Whelchel's recovery from West Nile virus below!

Image via WENN