On Tuesday, the newly single former Facts of Life star, 49, tweeted her diagnosis. "Dr. just called with blood test results...I have West Nile. Ugh. I'm fine, just tired. Takes a year to recover," she wrote.
There is no indication that her diagnosis is related to her stint on Survivor, which wrapped up filming in April. Although the disease is spread by mosquitoes, there have been nearly 4,000 cases in the U.S. this year. The symptoms include fatigue and body aches.
Although battling West Nile isn't the type of challenge Whelchel wants, she told PEOPLE in September that she looks at life as one big adventure.
After signing up for Survivor, "I didn't have one moment where I regretted being out there," she said. "In fact, the contrary. I was having an adventure; I was doing something that was a challenge, that was very hard."
Whelchel later Tweeted her thanks to well-wishers, adding that she's "expecting a full recovery."