Byline: Andrea Perera
TAVARAS, Fla. _ The steadily spreading flu epidemic finally has reached a widespread level in Florida, a statistic made frighteningly clear Wednesday when officials said a 10-year-old Volusia girl had suffered a "flu-associated death."
Officials continue to caution that this flu season might not be as bad as past ones, and they note that dozens of children die each year from the flu in America. But with the recent panic about dwindling vaccinations and the constant barrage of coughs, sneezes and fever in offices, homes and emergency rooms, Wednesday's news is the latest reason people have to wonder how bad things are.
"What `widespread' means is we've documented increases in flu across Florida," said spokeswoman Lindsay Hodges of the Florida Health Department. "It's too early to tell where this season compares to previous …