The Facts of Life star Lisa Whelchel has recently been diagnosed with West Nile Virus.
It is not known whether Whelchel, who recently competed on Survivor: Philippines, contracted the life-threatening mosquito-borne infection while shooting the show in March. The illness is primarily found in tropical climates.
Whelchel wrote on Twitter, “Dr. just called with blood test results…I have West Nile. Ugh. I’m fine, just tired. Takes a year to recover.”
She later thanked fans for their support and well wishes, saying, “I’ve been very touched by all the sweet tweets… So grateful for you. Thanks!”
Whelchel also recently divorced from her husband, Steve Cauble, after 24 years.
Jeff Kent, who was voted out of the tribe after 22 days in a move initiated by Whelchel, said the actress was naive.
“She never played the game,” Kent said. “She stood around in groups and during the conversations said, ‘I’ll do what you tell me to do.’ She never once showed in any conversation that she was trying to play the game. We were ripping on her for not having any strategy. “
Even though Whelchel had a hand in his leaving the show, Kent maintained that she had been “fighting her morals and ethics, worried about lying.” He said “the way she played the game really hurt her chances.”
Whelchel, who currently lives in the Dallas suburb of Flower Mound, played Blair Warner on The Facts of Life for nine years. She was also a Mouseketeer on The New Mickey Mouse Club in the 1970s.
In 1984, Whelchel was nominated for a Grammy for Best Inspirational Performance for her contemporary Christian album, All Because of You. She has been a regular speaker with Women of Faith Christian conferences since 2009.